It's possible to see why some might have considered the Mississippi State women's basketball team's trip to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament a forgone conclusion.
CARROLLTON, Ala. -- Poise in the circle can lead to perfection.
But Shelby Lowe doesn't think in grandiose terms like that. It doesn't matter she is a freshman because the Pickens Academy freshmen is mature beyond her years. You only need to talk to the left-hander pitcher for a few minutes to realize she knows her stuff and can handle herself in tough situations.
There aren't many things that can make a trip to the dentist more enjoyable.
STARKVILLE -- It was impossible to deny the pride on Vic Schaefer's face Sunday when he talked about the performance of Jazzmun Holmes.
The sophomore guard from Gulfport had a career-high 14 points and handed out six assists in the second-seeded Mississippi State women's basketball team's 92-71 victory against seventh-seeded DePaul at Humphrey Coliseum.
Columbus High School junior Robert Woodard II was named Monday the 2016-17 Gatorade Mississippi Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Woodard is the first Gatorade Mississippi Boys Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Columbus High. The award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement, and exemplary character on and off the court.
STARKVILLE -- Vic Schaefer had to leave his court-side seat Friday afternoon because he wasn't feeling well.
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State women's basketball team's "two-headed monster" was load to handle Sunday afternoon.
STARKVILLE -- Vic Schaefer wanted to set the tone Sunday.
STARKVILLE -- You'll have to excuse Vic Schaefer for being a few minutes late to his scheduled media conference Saturday.
STARKVILLE -- Vic Schaefer was waiting for the question.
STARKVILLE -- There aren't many things that can stop or keep Blair Schaefer down.
STARKVILLE -- The plan was working.
STARKVILLE -- Blair Schaefer saved her best game of the season for the sport's biggest stage.
Schaefer scored her team's first 11 points en route to a career-high 21-point effort Friday afternoon to lead the second-seeded Mississippi State women's basketball team to a 110-69 victory against 15th-seeded Troy before a crowd of 5,572 at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE -- The plan was working.
For the first 10 minutes, Chanda Rigby's plan for the Troy women's basketball team to attempt a shot every seven seconds had it right there with Mississippi State. The 15th-seeded Trojans were pushing tempo and beating the second-seeded Bulldogs down the court. They looked everything like a team that was eighth in the nation in scoring (82.9 points per game) and second in rebounds per game (50.22).
But things went horribly wrong in the second quarter.
STARKVILLE -- Maryann Baker knows a "grinder" when she sees one.
As a player at Texas A&M, Baker earned a reputation as a blue-collar worker who grew from a member of the scout team to a standout defensive player who helped the Aggies win a national championship in 2011.
Vic Schaefer knows how to work a court.
Whether it is standing still with arms folded tightly across his chest or dancing on the sideline in front of the Mississippi State bench, Schaefer knows how to get his message across and to energize his players and his fans.
Schaefer also knows how to work a room.
Doug Bruno likes selling tickets.
But as much as the DePaul women's basketball coach believes -- like Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer -- that offense sells tickets, defense wins games, and defensive rebounding wins championships, he understands there is more to the discussion when it comes to helping the sport grow.
STARKVILLE -- Breaking records has become the norm in the Troy University women's basketball program.
The Trojans have won 20 or more games in three-consecutive seasons for the first time in program history. They also have led the Sun Belt Conference in scoring each of the last five seasons.
STARKVILLE -- Up-tempo games don't faze Vic Schaefer.
In fact, the Mississippi State women's basketball coach offered a warning Thursday to opponents that think his team won't be able to keep pace in up-and-down action.
Get your stopwatch out.
Go. Count to seven. Shoot. Stop. Repeat.
Chanda Rigby knows that isn't a conventional pattern for success as a basketball coach. But Rigby wanted to create a system that made the game exciting in her new job at Troy University, so she decided to install a fast-paced style of play patterned after Dave Arsenault's Division III Grinnell College men's basketball team.
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