Smith on Sports: Ceremony serves to motivate MSU for a better finish

Danny P. Smith

Sports Editor

It was a banner day for Mississippi State on Sunday.

For the second-straight season, the Bulldogs were able to raise a National Finalists banner to the top of Humphrey Coliseum.

MSU women’s basketball had a pre-game ceremony on Sunday afternoon against Coppin State to remember the run it had last year to the national championship game.

The Bulldogs were 3 seconds away from completing the task of the school’s first-ever team national championship, but just couldn’t quite get it done.

When MSU head coach Vic Schaefer saw the latest banner raised, he said it serves as motivation to achieve what he called “the ultimate goal.”

The Bulldogs proved the last two years that they can compete with the best teams in the country and they should be able to do that again this season.

Schaefer won’t be happy unless that last step is taken. It drives him.

“(Last season) We were 3 seconds away from winning a national championship,” Schaefer said. “The next time I want to win it. That tells me I’ve got to coach better and teach better. I’ve got to get them home.”

There is no doubt that Schaefer and his fine coaching staff will work tirelessly in trying to accomplish the feat of a national title.

It seems that MSU will be in a position again with a top six ranking right now.

The pieces are coming together around talented center Teaira McCowan and it’s going to be fun to follow the Bulldogs once again.

In the last week, Andra Espinoza-Hunter has joined MSU after her transfer from Connecticut was official. She scored 16 points in Sunday’s 110-38 victory over Coppin State.

Anriel Howard, Chloe Bibby, Jazzmun Holmes and Jordan Danberry are all new starters around McCowan, but they all seem comfortable on the floor together.

As far as two of them on Sunday for example, Bibby scored in double digits for the fourth-straight game to open the season with 11 points and Danberry tied a career-high with seven assists.

The Bulldogs certainly look like the best team in the Southeastern Conference again to me and should have no problem making noise again come March.

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.