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Bulldogs ranked No. 4 in USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll

It is the highest preseason ranking MSU has received in the poll, and it comes after State finished the historic 2016-17 campaign No. 2 in the poll.

Posted: Nov 7, 2017 8:46 AM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Coming off the first Final Four in program history, the Mississippi State women’s basketball team begins 2017-18 No. 4 in the country in the USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll.

 

It is the highest preseason ranking MSU has received in the poll, and it comes after State finished the historic 2016-17 campaign No. 2 in the poll.

 

UConn, South Carolina and Baylor occupy the Top 3 spots in the poll. State faced all three last season, halting the Huskies’ 111-game win streak in the national semifinal after defeating Baylor to claim the Oklahoma City Regional championship.

 

MSU went on to face South Carolina in an all-SEC national title matchup.

 

Four teams in the poll are on State’s schedule this season, while six more are receiving votes.

 

The Bulldogs return nine players, including two starters, from the record-setting 2016-17 campaign that saw State set program bests for overall and SEC wins with 34 and 13, respectively.

 

Mississippi State also took second place in the SEC, and this year’s contingent was picked in that spot again this season by league media members.

 

Sixth-year head coach Vic Schaefer has his Top 3 scorers back from a year ago, including Preseason All-SEC selections Victoria Vivians and Morgan William.

 

Vivians scored 16.2 ppg last season en route to claiming Associated Press Third Team All-America and First Team All-SEC accolades. William was named AP All-America Honorable Mention and Second Team All-SEC after tallying 10.9 ppg and topping the team with a school-record 181 assists.

 

State also brings back Teaira McCowan following a stellar sophomore season that saw her named SEC Sixth Woman of the Year. McCowan paced the Bulldogs with 7.1 rebounds per game while scoring at an 8.7 clip.

 

MSU hosts a free exhibition against Arkansas-Fort Smith on Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. The Bulldog men’s and women’s teams officially begin the slate with a Nov. 10 doubleheader at Humphrey Coliseum. The men’s team hosts Alabama State at 5:30 p.m., and Schaefer’s squad takes on a Virginia team that is receiving votes at 8 p.m.

 

Between games, a special Final Four banner-raising ceremony will be held to commemorate the historic campaign. Tickets for the doubleheader cost $20 each and are being sold separately from season ticket packages.

 

Fans can purchase doubleheader tickets and season tickets now at www.hailstate.com/tickets or by phone at 1-888-GO-DAWGS.

 

USA Today Coaches Preseason Top 25 Poll

(Record is Final 2016-17 Record)

 

Rnk.     Team   Pts.      Record            Pvs.

1          Connecticut (25)         789      36-1     3

2          South Carolina (7)       719      33-4     1

3          Baylor  687      33-4     6

4          Mississippi State        678      34-5     2

5          Notre Dame    648      33-4     5

6          Texas   608      25-9     14

7          UCLA   582      25-9     13

8          Ohio State       575      28-7     10

9          Stanford          548      32-6     4

10        Louisville         504      29-8     12

11        Oregon            479      23-14   16

12        Duke    442      28-6     15

13        Maryland        380      32-3     8

14        Florida State    334      28-7     7

15        West Virginia  272      24-11   20

16        Missouri          249      22-11   NR

17        Oregon State   246      31-5     9

18        Tennessee       229      20-12   NR

19        Marquette       218      25-8     NR

20        DePaul 156      27-8     18

21        Oklahoma       151      23-10   21

22        South Florida   109      24-9     NR

23        Michigan         100      28-9     NR

24        Miami (FL.)     80        24-9     19

T25      California        79        20-14   NR

T25      Washington     79        29-6     11

 

Others Receiving Votes: Texas A&M 70; North Carolina State 67; Kentucky 59; Syracuse 53; Arizona State 43; Quinnipiac 27; Drake 18; Gonzaga 18; Virginia 17; Purdue 15; Kansas State 10; LSU 8; Michigan State 7; Florida Gulf Coast 7; Georgia Tech 7; South Dakota State 6; Temple 5; Nebraska 5; Indiana 4; Dayton 4; Middle Tennessee 2; Texas-Arlington 2; Virginia Tech 2; Villanova 1; Boise State 1; Elon 1.

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