#9/9 Mississippi State AT #6/6 Texas
Frank Erwin Center -- Austin, TX.
Today, Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015, 7 P.M CT.
TV: Longhorn Network
Both teams are coming into this game off big wins -- and that ''big'' meaning two totally different things.
In Texas' case, they just went into Knoxville and took down the #4 team in the nation, Tennessee, and did it handily, winning by 11 points.
In Mississippi State's' case, they played Sunday vs the Savannah State Tigers - although there was only one team on the attack - beating them 92-25. This was just the latest of their big wins though. The 5-0 Mississippi State Bulldogs are accustomed to winning big, early this year, winning by an average margin of 56 (!!) points per game. So it seems they will give Texas the biggest test they have received all year.
Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the year, voted on by coaches, Laashan Higgs set her career high in points Sunday when she carried Texas to their win. Texas will lean on her along with senior Imani Boyette (12.8 PPG, 9 RPG) and sophomore Brooke McCarty (12.4 PPG) to put the ball in the basket while Ariel Atkins (9.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG) is still recovering from injury
Teaira McCowan has to be the biggest storyline to follow for tomorrow's game.
She is a freshman out of Brenham, who was recruited by Texas and ranked as a 5-star player by recruiting services and the number 12 overall player in the nation, according to HailState.com. Oh, she's also 6-foot-7 and can matchup with the size of Imani Boyette.
On the other side, this truly is a Texas sized challenge for McCowan. She'll be returning home, family in to see the game and will have to face a future 1st round draft pick in her 6th career collegiate game.
Future first round pick, Boyette has been bigger than everyone she has faced so far and has dominated but now she'll stand toe-to-toe with someone her size.
Game plan and prediction:
It's hard to tell what Mississippi State will plan to do on offense as they haven't faced an opponent who has slowed them down yet where they haven't just ran them. One thing it appears though, is they have their fare amount of 3-point shooters. Both Victoria Vivians and Dominique Dillingham are shooting .429 from downtown while Blair Schaefer, Kayla Nevitt and LaKaris Salter have shot .385, .400 and .280 respectfully.
Texas, although, seems to have a clear game plan when on offense. Get it and go.
Texas has been pressing on defense a lot this year because of how deep they go. With the pressing comes turnovers and those have made the offense a lot more smooth, especially in transition.
While the Texas offense has 'stalled' at times in the half court when trying to go inside to Imani Boyette or Kelsey Lang. Texas has gained enough jump shooters now to space the court -- which has been a problem in the past. Also, Kelsey Lang's jump shot is respected enough where you have to come out and guard her when Aston plays Lang and Boyette together -- which could be big vs a rather small MSU team minus McCowan.
Texas seems to be the favorite tomorrow in the showdown between two undefeated teams but the Bulldogs shouldn't be taken lightly. They have the size, the shooters and their defense is stellar. I think Texas has the edge because of two things. One, their depth is tremendous. They'll probably go 10 deep tomorrow without a lot of drop off from one unit to the next. I also think Texas has the advantage in the coaching department.There are those teams in every sport that just hang around and even when they're playing bad, they're still are up finding ways to win, etc. Texas is becoming that in WBB. The first minutes of the Tennessee game Texas found themselves down 6 on multiple occasions but always found a way to strike back and stay right there. Being a key part in why they pulled the upset. Because of that tenaciousness I think Texas finds a way to win at home to move to 6-0, 59-54.