Smith on Sports: It appears new additions will help State women

Danny P. Smith

Sports Editor

Anyone who thought the Mississippi State women’s basketball team was going to have a significant drop off after losing four talented seniors will just have to think again.

It doesn’t appear the Bulldogs will be rebuilding at all. Coach Vic Schaefer has just reloaded.

With talented additions such as Jessika Carter and Anriel Howard, MSU should be right back in the Southeastern Conference championship conversation and have another chance for a return to the NCAA Tournament.

The Bulldogs completed their three-game tour of Italy last week and Carter was impressive in the final outing, which was a 96-59 win over German team International Select on Thursday. Carter’s double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds was the highlight of that contest. She pulled nine offensive boards off the glass.

Schaefer was proud of the effort he got from Carter and he might be able to plug her into a significant role for MSU when a new season begins in the fall.

Howard transferred from Texas A&M over the summer and will be able to play immediately for the Bulldogs. She made the trip to Italy with the team and gained some experience with her new teammates.

In the win over International Select, Howard had five points and was involved in a 19-0 run that helped the Bulldogs gain control of the game. She also had a reputation of being a solid rebounder during her time with the Aggies.

MSU out-rebounded International Select by an impressive margin of 60-32.

With Carter, Howard and Teaira McCowan, there should not be many missed shots that hit the floor without the Bulldogs securing a rebound. It’s going to be very difficult for opponents to block out those three players on a regular basis.

There is no doubt MSU will miss the leadership and shooting ability of last year’s four senior guards Roshunda Johnson, Blair Schaefer, Victoria Vivians and Morgan William.

William was one of the most special point guards to ever come through Starkville and it’s going to be difficult to replace what she brought to the table every night. Jazzmun Holmes will assume the starting role and Myah Taylor will benefit from a redshirt season to serve as a capable backup. Schaefer said Taylor has made some progress and liked the way she ran the team in Italy.

The trip to Italy for the Bulldogs can do nothing but help in the development of the players and create some chemistry across the board. The last trip to Europe for MSU a few years ago was big in the development of players like Vivians and William.

The Bulldogs have returned to the United States and classes begin next week, but the lessons learned from the Italy visit should help them pass the tests of another season that begins in a few months.

Danny P. Smith is the sports editor and columnist for The Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SDN or its staff.