STARKVILLE, Miss. – For the first time in a decade, Mississippi State women’s basketball opens its season on the road when it ventures to the Lone Star State for a Friday evening showdown against Houston.
Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. at UH’s Hofheinz Pavilion. The broadcast of the game can be heard on 106.1 WMXU and online to HailStateTV subscribers at www.hailstate.com/hstvlive.
“We’re excited about the season starting and going to Houston to play a very fine University of Houston team that is a new conference,” second-year coach Vic Schaefer said. “We’ve made improvements and strides as a team. I like our young team and the energy and confidence they are playing with right now.“
Schaefer’s Bulldogs will look to defeat Houston in the season opener for the second-straight year after giving him his first MSU win in a 72-66 decision last season.
Junior Martha Alwal turned in a dominating performance against the Cougars last season, tallying 23 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in the victory. Classmate Kendra Grant added 22 points for the Maroon and White.
Alwal was tabbed Second Team Preseason All-SEC by league coaches earlier in the week. The Worthington, Minn., native led the conference in rebounding, blocked shots, and double-doubles last season en route to Second Team All-SEC and SEC All-Defensive Team honors. She was also awarded the C Spire Gillom Trophy as Mississippi’s top female college basketball player.
Alwal and Grant are two of four returning starters from last season’s squad that will look to take the next step with a talented group of newcomers.
Freshman Breanna Richardson and junior Savannah Carter, a member of Trinity Valley Community College’s national championship team, earned their first career starts in a 75-44 rout of Shorter in exhibition play on Monday night.
Richardson scored 16 points in her impressive college debut, while Carter added nine points.
UH also returns four starters, including the entire frontcourt, from last year’s team that finished 13-17 and ninth in Conference USA. Coach Todd Buchanan’s squad will play in a new conference this year, debuting in the American Athletic Conference’s inaugural season.
MSU will start the season on the road for the first time since 2003, a game also played in the state of Texas against Baylor. The Bulldogs are 27-12 all-time in season openers, including nine-straight victories.
Following Friday night’s matchup, Mississippi State will prepare for the home opener on Nov. 13 against in-state foe Jackson State at 7 p.m.