Press Release from Mississippi State Athletics
Southeastern Conference media picked the Mississippi State women’s basketball team to finish second and selected Victoria Vivians and Morgan William to its Preseason All-SEC team, the league office announced on Tuesday.
Vic Schaefer’s Bulldogs were tabbed No. 2 for the second-straight year, and they were the only program to have two representatives on the five-player Preseason All-SEC Team.
The selection of Vivians and William also marks the first time State has placed two players on the team in the same year.
Vivians, a Carthage, Miss., native, was named Preseason All-SEC for the second consecutive year following a stellar junior season that saw her claim First Team All-SEC and Associated Press Third Team All-America honors. The Bulldog senior averaged a team-best 16.2 ppg for the season and tallied a career-high 18.1 ppg in SEC contests.
She recorded a personal-best 633 points last season, eighth-most in program history and third-most by a Bulldog junior. Vivians, who also averaged 4.2 rpg, 1.5 apg and 1.4 spg, collected 35 double-figure scoring games a year ago, including knocking down 20-plus points 11 times.
Vivians was named to the Oklahoma City All-Region Team after averaging 18.5 points and 5.0 rebounds against Washington and Baylor, and she claimed All-Final Four Team accolades after 19 points against UConn and 12 in the national title game against South Carolina.
Vivians, who was elected MSU’s 2017 Homecoming Queen, enters her senior campaign with 1,754 career points, two back of tying Alexis Rack for third in program history.
William tallied Preseason All-SEC accolades after rating second on the team with 10.9 ppg a year ago. The Birmingham, Ala., native averaged 9.5 ppg in SEC play.
She earned Associated Press All-America and Second Team All-SEC accolades after shooting 46.3% from the field and an SEC third-best 84.2% from the free-throw line. William also set the MSU single-season assists record with 181 and also claimed the top spot on the career list with 480.
William was named Most Outstanding Player of the Oklahoma City Regional after averaging 23.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists in the wins against Washington and Baylor. She tallied 41 points in the Elite Eight victory against the Bears, the most ever by an SEC player in an NCAA Tournament game.
She followed that performance with 13 points, including the winning bucket in overtime, and six assists in the Bulldogs’ historic win against UConn in the national semifinal. That epic performance earned her a spot with Vivians on the All-Final Four Team.
The duo joins seven other returnees from last season’s team that set the MSU single-season wins record for the third-straight year with a 34-5 mark. The Dawgs also won a program-best 13 SEC games en route to claiming a second-place league finish, the best by a Bulldog squad.
The Bulldogs were picked behind South Carolina, while Missouri, Tennessee and Texas A&M rounded out the rest of the Top 5.
Missouri’s Sophie Cunningham, Mercedes Russell of Tennessee and preseason player of the year pick A’ja Wilson of South Carolina comprised the remainder of the Preseason All-SEC Team.
Vivians, William and the rest of Schaefer’s 2017-18 contingent host the annual Maroon-White Scrimmage Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. before welcoming Arkansas-Fort Smith to Humphrey Coliseum on Nov. 3 for a 6 p.m. exhibition.
The Bulldogs officially begin the season Nov. 10, hosting Virginia at 8 p.m. in the second half of a doubleheader with the MSU men’s team. Tickets for that contest are sold separately from season tickets and can be purchased online at www.hailstate.com/tickets or by phone at 1-888-GO-DAWGS.
2017 SEC Preseason Media Poll
Order of Finish
1. South Carolina
2. Mississippi State
5. Texas A&M
13. Ole Miss
Player of the Year
A’ja Wilson, South Carolina
Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State
Morgan William, Mississippi State
Sophie Cunningham, Missouri
A’ja Wilson, South Carolina
Mercedes Russell, Tennessee