Mississippi State women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer has watched his team take one step forward one day, then two steps back the next.
Even though there have been some tough moments since he became the coach of the Bulldogs, Schaefer has had "fun" working with a young and inexperienced team.
"I have great kids and have enjoyed my time with them off the court as well as on the court," Schaefer said. "While we certainly have some challenges, it's been a very enjoyable experience professionally. We're excited about the future of this team."
MSU has an overall record of 8-7 and has lost its first two Southeastern Conference games to this point of the season.
The next test for the Bulldogs comes tonight against Florida. The tip is set for 7 p.m. at Humphrey Coliseum.
Schaefer said "the process continues" in making MSU the type of program that can compete consistently in the SEC.
He understands there are going to be some times when the Bulldogs will frustrate him, but that each positive moment must be built upon.
"It's the nature of the beast right now with this young group," Schaefer said. "One day they are going to be great and the next day they are not going to be great. That's where we are right now and that's OK. That's the young and inexperience of this team and we continue to work with it.
"This is the bottom line with this group. They are great kids and they want to please. As a coach, that's all you can ask."
Sophomore Kendra Grant leads MSU in scoring at this point of the season averaging 12.5 points per game, while fellow sophomore Martha Alwal follows Grant with 11.6 points per outing.
Alwal grabs 9.4 rebounds per game for the Bulldogs that stands second in the SEC.
Florida head coach Amanda Butler likes the values that Schaefer is instilling at MSU.
"They play tough basketball and play really hard," Butler said. "They've got some great pieces to the puzzle. Vic has done a fantastic job of coming in and implementing his way of doing things. It's very obvious when you watch them on film, the confidence his young ladies are playing with. (It's) very much like our team."
The Gators are off to a good start this season with records of 12-4 overall and a split in their first two conference games.
Both Schaefer and Butler talk about their squads being ready and able to perform "when the lights come on."
Butler said Florida continue to find ways to improve, not only game by game, but each and every day.
"We've matured during the non-conference season and had a couple of good test in the SEC because they work extremely hard," Butler said. "I think we still have a lot of room for improvement, but have been really pleased with the progress thus far."
Jennifer George leads the Gators with 14.6 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per outing.
For those who can't attend the game in Starkville, the radio broadcast can be heard on WKBB-FM 100.9 and WXWX-FM 96.3.
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