Bulldog send out special senior class

(Left to right) Victoria Vivians, Morgan William, Roshunda Johnson and Blair Schaefer are the four seniors on MSU's women's basketball team. 

No. 2 Mississippi State University (29-0) celebrated a win on senior night, defeating Auburn University (13-14), 82-61.

Approximately 10,000 fans watched the Bulldogs finish out their SEC play at home Thursday night. A record total of 113,814 people have watched this team since they started the season. 

Head coach Vic Schaefer said the crowd really added to the senior night atmosphere.

“That is purely a celebration for these four, they deserve it,” Schaefer said. “They deserve that crowd tonight, ninety four almost ninety five hundred. They deserved every one of them being in there I’m just happy for them.”

Schaefer said Roshunda Johnson, a senior guard from Little Rock, Arkansas, and the rest of the team did a good job coming out early and setting the pace of play. MSU was off to a fast start making five of their eight threes in the first six minutes.

“It felt good, I think all of us were pretty much excited," Johnson said. "We let the game come to us and once we got our momentum going then everything else followed.”

Morgan Williams said the staff reminded them of the goose egg they laid last year against Tennessee, and they just needed to come out and finish it. Schaefer clarified he did not think last year’s senior day was a goose egg.

“I would like to go on record to say that I never said we laid an egg last year," Schaefer said of the Bulldog’s 82-64 loss. “I said it was the biggest train wreck in the history of train wrecks.”

Blair Schaefer, a senior guard from Starkville, said it is very special to play in this historic season with the three other seniors.

“It was very special to be able to spend it with these guys,” Schaefer said. “We have fought through so many hard battles together so to be able to do this in front of this crowd was awesome.”  

Another special moment came after the game when it was announced the attendance record was shattered by nearly 10,000 fans. This meant Vic Schaefer would follow up on his word to donate $10,000 to the Boys and Girls club.

“I was glad to do it, twofold one I just wanted it for this team in particular for these seniors I felt like they deserved four straight sellouts, four packed houses, and the easy thing was to support such a great organization,” Vic Schaefer said.

Unknown to Vic Schaefer several loyal bulldog fans matched Schaefer's donation, raising an additional $36,000. Schaefer said these actions are what makes MSU so uniquely special. 

“This is what makes Mississippi State so special,” Schaefer said. “People wanting to support people in our community, great causes, the youth, the leaders of tomorrow. It is really really special. Again they do not have to do it. I am sure they got grandkids they can spend it on or their own kids, but this is who we are, this is who Mississippi State is.”

Vic Schaefer said he was proud of his players and the impact they have made on the community. It is something he tries to teach them every day. The impact is visible as the team spends time signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.

“We are constantly trying to get them ready for the real world, but you all see after every game the impact they have on this community,” Schaefer said. “By how many people they have out there that want an autograph or their picture taken. That is the power that these young ladies have, they are empowered, and they have an opportunity to impact a world.”

Shifting his focus to this Sunday when MSU will play Kentucky in Lexington to close out the season, Schaefer said the team must play better than they did tonight because Kentucky will be seeking revenge.

“I am anxious to take them, and I think they understand what's at stake,” Schaefer said. “I think they know we need to probably clean up some things and play a little better. We just did not play well at times tonight, but I am excited to have the opportunity.”

The last team to go undefeated in SEC women's basketball was Tennessee in 1997-1998, so the stakes will be high Sunday afternoon. History is still to be written for this team.

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