The Lady Bulldogs' 293 ties their season-best set just last weekend in the final round of the JMU/Eagle Landing Invitational and is the program's third-lowest opening round in its history.
"I was so pleased with our team today," MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. "We focused in every event on our routine and our job on the course. We disregarded who was in the field, got our job taken care of and let the chips fall where they may. Today was a great example of believing in and practicing that ideology."
MSU finished the opening round ahead of No. 49 Florida State (294), No. 18 Baylor (293), No. 15 Virginia (297) and No. 6 North Carolina (301). State is tied with No. 21 Oklahoma State and is only eight strokes back of tournament-leader No. 4 Oklahoma (285). No. 3 Alabama (286) and No. 5 Florida (289) round out the Top 3.
"Anytime you can open with a 293 on this course and beat teams like North Carolina, Virginia, Baylor, it just shows we are sticking to our plan," Brown-Lemm added.
Sophomore Ally McDonald and freshman Gabi Oubre' each notched 1-over 71's and are tied for 10th. McDonald entered the event fresh off a runner-up finish last weekend and is on pace for her fifth Top 5 card in seven events this year.
Oubre', still in search of her first-career Top 25, set a new career-best and tied the sixth-lowest opening round by a freshman in MSU history.
Warren turned in a season-best 3-over-par 73 to earn a share of 20th-place. The sophomore narrowly missed her first-career Top 25 card just two tournaments ago as she tied for 26th in the Westbrook Invitational to begin the spring.
Mary Langdon Gallagher and Rica Tse rounded out the Lady Bulldogs' leaderboard with a 78 and 81, respectively.
Sixth-ranked Stephanie Meadow of Alabama and Portland Rosen of Virginia each turned in 2-under-par 68's to take control of the individual race after 18 holes.
Second-round action will begin at 8 a.m. CST Saturday with the Lady Bulldogs slated to tee off alongside Miami and Oklahoma State at 8:45 a.m.
"Tomorrow the work begins," Brown-Lemm said. "Our middle rounds have been the weakest so far this year but we intend to change that here."
Live stats will be available through HailState.com. Fans can also follow the women's golf program through Facebook at facebook.com/mstateWG and on Twitter at @mstateWG.
First Round - March 15, 2013
1. No. 4 Oklahoma (285, +5); 2. No. 3 Alabama (286, +6); 3. No. 5 Florida (289, +9); 4. Miami (290, +10); T5. Mississippi State (293,+13); T5. No. 21 Oklahoma State (293, +13); 7. No. 49 Florida State (294, +14); 8. No. 18 Baylor (296, +16); 9. No. 15 Virginia (297, +17); 11. No. 6 North Carolina (301, +21); 10. Chattanooga (301, +22); 12. Florida International (303, +23); 13. Kent State (305, +25); 14. South Florida (309, +29); 15. San Diego State (313, +33).