Vic Schaefer’s squad improved to 16-1 overall and 3-0 in SEC play for the second-straight year, a first in program history, with an 80-55 home win against Arkansas on Sunday.
The Bulldogs, who have won all four meetings against Mizzou, head to Columbia looking to extend an 11-game win streak that is the sixth in the nation.
“We have to go on the road and play a Top 25 team in Missouri. They are very well coached. Robin (Pingeton) does a tremendous job, her and her staff,” Schaefer said. “They are really a tough, physical team. They’ve had a season much like ours last year in that they are off to the best start in school history. There are a lot of veterans on that team and they have added some really good, young pieces. Robin has done a tremendous job while she has been there, and we are going to have to go in there and really play well to have a chance to win.”
Four MSU players scored double figures to help the Bulldogs extend the win streak. Junior Ketara Chapel led the way, going 7 of 8 from the field to match her career high with 19 points.
Junior Dominique Dillingham recorded a season high with 16 points against the Razorbacks. Victoria Vivians and Chinwe Okorie added 13 and 12 points, respectively, in the win.
Vivians, a Preseason First Team All SEC selection, notched her 16th-straight game in double figures Sunday. The Carthage, Mississippi, native passed 800-career points in the contest while remaining atop the SEC in scoring at 17.9 ppg.
Vivians’ 16.7 ppg in league play tops the Bulldogs and rates fourth in the SEC. Dillingham and sophomore Morgan William join Vivians in double-digit scoring through the first three conference contests, averaging 11.0 and 10.0 ppg respectively.
William has been phenomenal at the line in SEC contests, knocking down 12 of her 13 attempts for a league fourth-best 92.3 percent. She leads the league at the line for the season, making 90 percent (63 of 70).
The Bulldogs rate 15th in the country averaging 80.0 ppg, but MSU has also been one of the country’s best on the defensive end of the floor as well.
MSU enters Thursday’s game 12th nationally in scoring defense (52.2 ppg) after holding three of its last four foes to season lows.
The Bulldogs also forced Arkansas into 25 turnovers, the fifth-straight game State has forced its foe into 20-plus turnovers, to move up to fifth in NCAA Division I in turnovers forced (24.5) and third in turnover margin (+10.1).
The contest will be State’s second SEC road contest after the Bulldogs opened with a 76-70 win at Florida.
MSU is used to road challenges, however, as both of State’s games against ranked foes this season have come away from Humphrey Coliseum.
“We have played very good on the road here lately, and pretty much all year we’ve played well on the road.,” ,” Schaefer said. “I think our kids are comfortable on the road, and I think they are confident. They have been in those environments enough to know what that is like.”
Thursday’s showdown pits a Bulldog squad that is sixth in the SEC in 3-point defense (35.8 percent) against a Missouri team that leads the league making 7.3 3-pointers per game.
The Tigers return home 14-2 overall and 1-2 in SEC play after falling at No. 2 South Carolina 83-55 on Sunday. Mizzou won 54-48 at Georgia after opening the SEC slate with a 71-55 home setback to Tennessee.
Sophie Cunningham paces Missouri for the season, averaging 14.3 ppg and shooting 54.3 percent from the field.
Jordan Frericks, the Tiger’s leading rebounder at 7.8 rpg, has paced Missouri in SEC play with a 10.3 scoring average.
Following Thursday’s game, Mississippi State returns home Monday, Jan. 18, to host in-state rival Ole Miss in a 6 p.m. tip that will be broadcast nationally on the SEC Network.