#12 Mississippi State Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Overall Rank: #12
Conference Rank: #3 SEC
#12 Mississippi State Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Mississippi State Team Page


Under the direction of head coach Vic Schaefer, the Mississippi State women’s basketball program has quickly burst onto the national scene as one of the rising programs in all of women’s college basketball. The Bulldogs are relentlessly athletic and they bring a level of defensive intensity that very few teams in the sport replicate on a nightly basis. This combination, along with plenty of returning experience, makes the Bulldogs a very dangerous threat in the Southeastern Conference this season.

2014-15 Record: 27-7, 11-5
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Vic Schaefer
Coach Record: 57-38 at Mississippi State, 142-148 overall

Defensively, Mississippi State is aggressive at causing turnovers as opponents to turned the ball over nearly 22 times per game last season. Guard Dominique Dillingham is one of the best in the SEC at causing chaos for opposing offenses as she had 69 steals last season. Rebounding the basketball will be another strength of the Bulldogs this season as forwards Victoria Vivians and Breanna Richardson will both be looking to expand on their five plus rebounds per game. The overall depth and returning experience will also be able to wear teams down over the course of 40 minutes, especially with games at home in Starkville. Mississippi State was 17-1 at home last season and they only lost to LSU by two points in double overtime.

To take the next step and get deeper in the NCAA Tournament the Bulldogs are going to have to shoot the ball more consistently at the offensive end of the court. They shot 39.8 percent from the floor last season and in the second round loss to Duke the Blue Devils held Mississippi State to a 30.5 field goal percentage for the game. Increased offensive production from players like Morgan William in the backcourt along with continued development of players like Vivians, Dillingham, and Richardson offensively will help address this very glaring weakness for the Bulldogs. Improvement at the foul line will also very quickly improve the Mississippi State offensive attack as they just over 71 percent from the charity stripe last season.

Final Projection:
There is a nice balance to the non-conference schedule for the Bulldogs. A road trip to Texas on December 2nd to play the Longhorns will be the first test of the season. Two neutral site games against Florida Gulf Coast down in Puerto Rico and against South Florida in the SEC/AAC Challenge in Jacksonville in late December highlight the rest of the pre-SEC slate. In conference play, Mississippi State will get South Carolina and Tennessee in Starkville for consecutive games. Kentucky also visits in mid-February. Even one win in those three games will be a very nice accomplishment. The three key road games will be at Arkansas, LSU and Texas A&M to give a balanced 50-50 split of the six toughest conference games for the Bulldogs. If this team can handle being the hunted instead of the hunter and stay healthy, then another 25 plus win season should be in the cards for the Mississippi State women’s basketball program.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Dominique Dillingham, Junior, Guard, 5.7 points per game
Morgan William, Sophomore, Guard, 9.1 points per game
Victoria Vivians, Sophomore, Forward, 14.9 points per game
Breanna Richardson, Junior, Forward, 8.4 points per game
Chinwe Okorie, Junior, Center, 3.4 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.1 (30th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 57.5 (38,6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 39.8 (171,9)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.4 (56,5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (116,2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.6 (84,4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.3 (99,2)
Rebound Margin: 4.5 (53,3)
Assists Per Game: 13.2 (145,6)
Turnovers Per Game: 16.2 (180,6)

Madness 2015 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#27 Teaira McCowan


See All Top 44 Women’s Basketball Previews