The Mississippi State women’s basketball team began the season ranked No. 10 in the nation in the Associated Press poll and No. 11 in the USA Today Coaches poll. Since the http://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/rankings/_/week/1/seasontype/2">preseason rankings were released, MSU has steadily climbed in the poll with each win.
In week two of the season, the Bulldogs stayed at http://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/rankings/_/week/2/seasontype/2">No. 10 in the AP poll but moved from No. 11 to No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches poll. MSU http://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/rankings/_/week/3/seasontype/2">leaped to No. 7 in both polls after beating the University of Texas 79-68.
http://hailstate.com/news/2016/11/20/womens-basketball-no-9-bulldogs-open-home-slate-with-win-against-no-8-texas.aspx">MSU outscored Texas 26-9 in the second quarter, taking control of a game where the first quarter ended with a 16-16 tie. The Bulldogs kept pace with the No. 8 ranked Longhorns for the rest of the game, but Texas outscored MSU in the second half.
That explosion in the second quarter allowed the Bulldogs to cruise to a win and up the polls. Week four of the polls saw the Bulldogs http://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/rankings/_/week/4/seasontype/2">move up to No. 6 in the nation.
It looked like that ranking might take a major hit in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, which saw MSU traveled to the University of Iowa.
At halftime the sixth ranked http://hailstate.com/news/2016/12/3/womens-basketball-no-6-bulldogs-rally-to-defeat-iowa-state-in-overtime.aspx">Bulldogs were down 17 to the Hawkeyes at 43-26 and in danger of losing for the first time this season. In the second half, MSU slowly chipped away at Iowa’s lead and tightened up on defense.
The Hawkeyes were still up by 15 at the end of the third quarter even though MSU made a couple of runs in the quarter. MSU trailed by eight with three minutes left in the fourth quarter but wasn’t about let its perfect season end.
A three-pointer with 36 seconds left in the game allowed the Bulldogs to force overtime. MSU outscored Iowa 14-10 in overtime, completing the comeback victory.
MSU’s win snapped Iowa’s 96-game nonconference home winning streak and was the first time since 2012 that the Bulldogs won a game after trailing by 10 or more points at halftime. The overtime win propelled MSU to No. 5 in the country in the latest AP poll.
The Bulldogs made history by being http://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/rankings/_/week/5/seasontype/2">ranked No. 5 in the nation. It’s http://hailstate.com/news/2016/12/5/womens-basketball-bulldogs-top-5-in-ap-poll-for-first-time-in-program-history.aspx">the highest ranking the team ever achieved in program history and marks the 41st week that MSU is featured in the rankings.
The Bulldogs have three players that are http://static.hailstate.com/custompages/stats/wbk/201617/teamcume.htm#TEAM.LDR">averaging double-digits: Junior guard Victoria Vivians leads the way with a 14.6 points per game average; junior guard Morgan William is second with a 11.9 points per game; and junior guard Roshunda Johnson is third at 10.4 points per game.
After the comeback victory over Iowa, MSU moved to http://hailstate.com/schedule.aspx?path=wbball">8-0 on the season and rose up in the polls. In front of the Bulldogs are women’s basketball powerhouses, University of Connecticut at No. 1, University of Notre Dame at No. 2, Baylor University at No. 3 and the University of Maryland at No.4.
The Bulldogs are the highest-ranked team from the SEC in the AP poll, with the University of South Carolina at No. 6, the University of Kentucky at No. 15 and the University of Florida at No. 23.
MSU made more history by http://hailstate.com/news/2016/12/6/womens-basketball-state-earns-record-no-5-ranking-in-usa-today-coaches-poll-named-ncaa-team-of-the-week.aspx">rising to No. 5 in the coaches poll and the http://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-women/article/2016-12-06/womens-basketball-mississippi-state-named-team-week">NCAA named it its Team of the Week for the week of Nov. 28 to Dec. 4. The Bulldogs trail the same teams as in the AP and are the highest ranked SEC team.
MSU plays its first game as the No. 5 team in the nation against the University of Southern Mississippi at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10. The Bulldogs continue the nonconference schedule until New Year’s Day when SEC play begins against Louisiana State University.