Mississippi State Basketball: #14 Lady Bulldogs vs. Florida Preview
The #14 Mississippi State Basketball Lady Bulldogs hit the road to battle Florida today at 5:00 PM. This is the first game since a 92-86 home loss to Kentucky. The Lady Bulldogs battled and had chances to win, but an outstanding performance by Rhyne Howard was too much to overcome.
Mississippi State hopes to get back in the win column against Florida. The Lady Gators are 0-2 in conference play. I was glad to see Xaria Wiggins return to action against the Wildcats. If Mississippi State is to win this game and extend the winning streak to eight games against Florida, every Lady Bulldog will have to contribute.
Scouting the Florida Lady Gators
Cam Newbauer coaches Florida in his fourth season. New Bauer has amassed a 41-60 record in his quest to rebuild the Lady Gator Basketball program.
The Florida Lady Gators have a 7-3 record so far this season. They are still looking for their first SEC victory. The Gators were soundly beaten by South Carolina (75-59) and Texas A&M (92-67). I do not expect the Gators to win this game, but I do not expect them to lay down for Mississippi State.
The Lady Gators have three players that average double digits in Lavender Briggs (17.5), Kiara Smith (15.7), and Nina Rickards (10.1). These three women also have the ability to shoot the three, but the best shooter is Rickards at 41%.
Danielle Rainey leads the team with 15 three-pointers made and averages around eight points a game. Faith Dut is the tallest post player, but she is not a big part of the offense.
If Mississippi State comes out and handles business, they should run away from the Gators and send them 0-3 in SEC play. The only way I see Florida being able to stay in this game is if Mississippi State lets them. Defensively the Lady Bulldogs have to work harder to limit open threes.
Kentucky had too many open looks to shoot threes, and that is really what allowed them to keep the lead and eventually win the game. Florida is not as talented as Kentucky, but Mississippi State can not give them open looks.
The Lady Bulldogs need to attack Florida in the paint. Jessika Carter should finish with a double-double on the night. Rickea should also have a great game, and I want to see her attack the basket for layups and not settle for quick jumpers unless she gets hot.
The Lady Bulldogs are the superior team. If Carter or Jackson are unable to be their usual selves, Mississippi State has a roster full of players that can score. I already mentioned Wiggins, but we all know that Matharu and Mingo-Young can take over a game and perform like All-SEC Players.
You can watch the game on SECNetwork+.