The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Students have unique opportunity in watching MSU’s Women’s Basketball

The Mississippi State University women’s basketball team will return for their 43rd season this fall and look to continue their dominance under head coach Vic Schaefer. 

Schaefer has coached basketball for over 30 years. He coached at the college level for the first time as an assistant coach for Sam Houston State University men’s basketball team from 1987 to 1989. 

He then coached at the high school level for a year before returning to Sam Houston State as the head coach of the women’s basketball team. 

Schaefer coached in the SEC for the first time in 1997 as an assistant coach at the University of Arkansas. He coached for Arkansas until 2003, when he joined Gary Blair at Texas A&M University as an assistant coach from 2003 to 2012. 

Schaefer left A&M to become the head coach of MSU’s women’s basketball team in 2012. 

 MSU is the third consecutive school Schaefer has helped take to the women’s Final Four. This fall will be Schaefer’s sixth season at MSU and, in his four years as a Bulldog, Schaefer has broken program and national records. 

The 2016-17 women’s basketball team finished at a 34-5 record, which is the best in program history. They also had their best NCAA tournament run in school history, upsetting the University of Connecticut and appearing in a national championship game for the first time in school history. 

By deciding to attend MSU, you have invited yourself to an exciting party for women’s basketball. 

MSU has an intense fan base who attends and supports their women’s basketball team with no hesitation. Women’s basketball ignites school spirit in the record-breaking crowds they bring to Humphrey Coliseum. 

Being a part of the culture surrounding MSU women’s basketball is a once in a lifetime experience. 

When teams come to compete at The Hump, they marvel at the success Schaefer has had in his five years with the program, knowing his contributions to the winning atmosphere at the The Hump are almost unmatched. 

The creation of a strong culture around women’s college basketball is something many will never experience due to the lack of exposure for and interest in women’s basketball across the nation. 

Every team that comes to The Hump congratulates Schaefer for building a passionate fanbase for a competitive group of young women he coaches. 

“I believe we have passionate, loyal fans at Mississippi State,” Schaefer said, “They appreciate the blue-collar, hard working, tough, stepping-in-front-of-a-freight-train, take-charge mentality–just how hard we play. I think that’s why they come watch our kids play.”

  Humphrey Coliseum is the place where you get to test if 7,000 people can really feel like 70,000. It is a place where you can see a fanbase like no other come together and root for the Bulldogs.

 Out of the thirteen home games of the 2016-2017 season, the Bulldogs averaged 6,640 people in the stands, compared to the national average of 1,548 women’s basketball fans in attendance.

If you are new to MSU, your first year at The Hump will be the current-best scorers on the team’s last. 

Guards Victoria Vivians and Morgan William will play their senior season in the upcoming year, when they will make their third straight attempt for the program’s first national title. 

Vivians, from Carthage, Mississippi, has made undeniable contributions to the team. In her junior year alone, Vivians finished with team-leading average of 16.3 points per game. 

Morgan William, from Birmingham, Alabama, is best known for her streak-ending buzzer beater against UConn in last year’s Final Four. However, William also contributed 181 assists to the team in her junior year. 

Vivians and William will be lead the team next year, along with Roshunda Johnson and Blair Schaefer, who showcased depth of quality on Coach Schaefer’s bench this past season.

 For her third season as a Bulldog, 6’7” center Teiara McCowan is expected to be a dominating force in the paint next year. McCowan, from Brenham, Texas, was named the SEC’s 6th Woman of the Year this past season, and made 57 blocks and 31 steals during her sophomore season. 

In their upcoming sophomore season, Jazzmun Holmes, Ameysha Williams and Jacaira “Iggy” Allen are expected to establish themselves on the court.

Holmes made the most frequent appearances on the court this past season, as she played as another guard option for William. Holmes played in 38 games, collecting 102 points and 28 steals.

Though MSU watched their most successful senior class in women’s basketball history move on this spring, newcomers are working to fill the big shoes the class left, especially in the guard positions.

 Nyah Tate, a 6’ guard from Terry, Mississippi, will compete for a spot on the floor at the guard position, along with Bre’Amber Scott and Myah Taylor. 

As senior Chinwe Okorie leaves the Bulldogs, Schaefer plans on 6’1” forward and top Australian player Chloe Bibby to continue the “two headed monster in the paint” Okorie and McCowan created.

Those attending MSU next year will have the privilege of witnessing grit, hard work and an undeniable, authentic sports culture, all thanks to MSU women’s basketball. 

 Schaefer and the Bulldogs will strive for another record-breaking season next year in the Hump as they make a run at the SEC title and NCAA tournament once again. 

Contact Amber Dodd at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter.

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Students have unique opportunity in watching MSU’s Women’s Basketball