STARKVILLE — The No. 11 Mississippi State women’s basketball team defeated Ole Miss 55-47 before a single-game record crowd of 7,326 at Humphrey Coliseum on Sunday.
The previous record of 6,055 was set Feb. 9, 2003, in a 77-72 loss to LSU.
The crowd also was the biggest crowd in the state of Mississippi for a women’s college basketball game, according to MSU.
“It was a tremendous day for us and for women’s basketball,” MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. “I am so proud of the seniors. To be able to send them out with a win before the largest crowd in school history is special. To win 26 games in a regular season is an achievement. It takes a special team.”
The victory helped MSU improve to 26-5 and 11-5 in the Southeastern Conference. The overall and SEC victory totals are program records. It also enabled the Bulldogs to wrap up the No. 3 seed for the SEC tournament, which begins Wednesday in North Little Rock, Arkansas. MSU will get a double bye and will be off until Friday, when it will play at approximately 8:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals. The seed matches the program’s highest in the tournament.
MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin was one of the more than 7,300 fans in attendance. He praised Schaefer and the Bulldogs for working hard to build relationships with the fans. He also complimented the players for their gritty brand of basketball that has helped them set a school-record attendance total of 67,598 for 18 home dates this season. Eight of the program’s 10 largest crowds have come this season. MSU is 17-1 at home.
“It makes me really proud of Vic and our young ladies because I know how hard they have worked, not only in basketball, but creating a great atmosphere and the type of program people want to come and support and be a part of,” Stricklin said. “They are great kids and they are genuine. They have gone out of their way to engage with the community and Mississippi State people and, obviously, winning is a big part of it. If you put those two pieces together, that is a pretty simple recipe, but it is hard to hit on sometimes. They have done it.”
Stricklin said MSU has put in a bid to play host to the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. MSU won’t know if it will earn a chance to play one or two more home games until Monday, March 16, when the field for the 64-team NCAA tournament is announced. As of Sunday, ESPN.com “Bracketologist” Charlie Creme had MSU as a No. 4 seed in the Albany Region, which would mean the Bulldogs would get a chance to play at home. The winner of the SEC tournament will receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. A return to the NCAA tournament would be MSU’s first since the 2009-10 season, when it advanced to the program’s first Sweet 16.
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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