STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Mississippi State women's basketball announced its non-conference slate for the 2019-20 season Friday. The schedule is highlighted by the prominent holiday tournaments Duel in the Desert and the Vancouver Showcase along with matchups against Marquette and West Virginia.
Fans will get their first look at this year's squad on Monday, Nov. 4, as the Bulldogs host Lubbock Christian for an exhibition at Humphrey Coliseum.
State officially begins the 2019-20 season against Southern Miss at The Hump on Nov. 9. The Lady Eagles return eight of their top nine scorers from last year, including senior guard Shonte Hailes. An All-Conference USA First Team selection in 2019, Hailes paced Southern Miss in scoring (12.9 ppg) and assists (4.4 apg).
Mississippi State will then continue its four-game homestand to begin the season by welcoming UT-Martin, Murray State and Troy to Humphrey Coliseum.
UT-Martin returns the majority of the players from last year's squad that advanced to the OVC Tournament Championship game and finished with a 23-9 record. Murray State will be one of the youngest teams in the country this season, with only one senior currently on the roster. The Racers do return 2018-19 OVC Freshman of the Year Macey Turley, who averaged 12.9 points, 4.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. Troy is coming off one of its best seasons in program history, finishing with a 22-9 record and earning a spot in the WNIT.
MSU hits the road for the first time on Nov. 21, heading south down Highway 25 to take on Jackson State in the Lee E. Williams Athletic and Assembly Center. After that, the Bulldogs begin a tough four-week stretch with seven of its eight games coming away from home.
Mississippi State heads to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to face Marquette in the Al McGuire Center on Nov. 25. The Golden Eagles claimed the Big East title last season with a senior-loaded roster. First-year head coach Megan Duffy will be tasked with replacing the team's top five scorers that averaged 67.5 points per game, including Big East Player of the Year Natisha Hiedeman.
During Thanksgiving, State will participate in the Vancouver Showcase from Nov. 28-30. Only in its second year, the inaugural event boasted three top-15 teams and six NCAA Tournament squads. The eight-team field for the 2019 showcase has yet to be announced.
The Bulldogs return home on Dec. 8 to host West Virginia as part of this year's Big 12/SEC Challenge. Last season, the Mountaineers posted their sixth consecutive season with 20 or more wins and advanced to the third round of the WNIT. The Mountaineers return All-Big 12 first team selections Tynice Martin and Kari Niblack.
On Dec. 16, Mississippi State plays Louisiana on the road in the Cajundome. The Ragin' Cajuns return an incredible 99 percent of their scoring from last year's squad. Sophomore guard Brandi Williams was named the 2018-19 Sun Belt Women's Basketball Freshman of the Year after averaging 12.8 points per game.
Following that, the Bulldogs will compete in their second holiday tournament of the season at the Duel in the Desert in Las Vegas, Nevada. MSU, which won the event in 2017, opens the event against USF on Dec. 19 and will play either Virginia or UNLV on Dec. 21.
State rounds out its non-conference schedule by hosting Little Rock on Dec. 29. The Trojans return two of their top three scorers from a year ago in All-Sun Belt selections Kyra Collier and Tori Lasker. Winners of the Sun Belt Conference title the last three seasons, Little Rock has established itself as a one of the top mid-major programs in the country and will be a good test for the Bulldogs before starting SEC play.
With seven opportunities to catch the Bulldogs in Humphrey Coliseum during the non-conference slate, season tickets are $150 for 200 level side court reserved seats and general admission is $85. For more information, please call 662.325.2600 or 888.GO.DAWGS.