STARKVILLE, Miss. – After starting the season with a program-best 13-1 record, the Mississippi State women’s basketball team looks to continue the sensational start Thursday as the Bulldogs begin SEC play at Florida.
Tip from the Stephen C. O’Connell Center is set for 6 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised by Sun Sports on DirectTV channel 656. Jason Crowder and Charlie Winfield will have the radio broadcast on WNMQ-FM 103.1 and online to HailStateTV subscribers at www.hailstate.com/hstvlive.
The Bulldogs take a six-game win streak into Thursday’s SEC opener, the program’s 11th time in the last 13 seasons to begin league play on the road.
Coach Vic Schaefer’s squad matched last season’s win total with a 98-58 win against Mississippi Valley State in Monday’s non-conference finale.
Against the Delta Devilettes, junior Martha Alwal paced six Bulldogs in double figures with 22 points. It was the third-straight 20-plus point game for Alwal, giving her an 18.7 scoring average over the team’s last six games.
The Worthington, Minn., native rates third in the SEC with a 17.0 scoring average, and her .594 shooting percentage is second in the league. Alwal also paces the Bulldogs on the board with 8.8 per game, the fifth-highest mark in the SEC.
Junior Kendra Grant scored 16 points in the non-conference finale, giving her double figures in 12 of the team’s 14 games this season and 14 of 17 contests going back to last season.
Grant, who tallied a career-best 23 points in last season’s 61-55 setback to the Gators, is scoring at a 14.1 clip in 24 minutes per game this season.
The veteran duo is joined in double figures by freshman Dominique Dillingham, who has scored 10-plus points in five of the team’s last six games.
The Spring, Texas, native, who was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Dec. 23, is scoring at a 10.9 clip this season. She rates second on the team with 57 free throws for a .760 percentage that is ninth in the SEC and the best by a league rookie.
She also tops SEC freshmen with 2.4 steals per game, a mark that is second on the team behind Savannah Carter’s SEC-leading 3.0 average.
Sparked by a +10.9 turnover margin that tops the SEC and an NCAA-best 334 free throws, the Bulldogs enter SEC play averaging 80.4 points per game.
MSU’s scoring average rates fifth in the SEC, just behind a 10-3 Florida squad that is scoring at an 80.9 clip.
Like Mississippi State, Florida enters league play on a six-game win streak.
The Gators have five players averaging double figures, led by 16.7 per game from Jaterra Bonds.
Kayla Lewis’ 8.5 rebounds per game lead a Florida squad that is being out-rebounded by 1.5 boards per contest.State opens the eight-game home SEC slate Sunday, hosting Auburn in a 2 p.m. tip at Humphrey Coliseum.