Sunday night was not the end for Mississippi State University's women’s basketball. The buzzer beater was soul crushing and many MSU fans have chalked the game up as the last chance for MSU to win a national title. This is not true.
This team will forever be remembered. They will be seen as the building block which started a run of MSU women’s basketball greatness. For what it is worth, Victoria Vivians is on the Mount Rushmore of MSU with Dak, Ron Polk and Bailey Howell. No one will wear her number again.
This team was the best in the history of the school in any sport. They went undefeated in the regular season and won the SEC regular season crown. They will be a team forever remembered in the history of MSU athletics. They never received a national title, but this does not diminish anything they accomplished this past season.
MSU has played in three national final games across two sports since 2013. Before then, MSU had never made it to a big game. The national title will come, it is a matter of when, not if. Women’s basketball will still probably be the team to do it.
Next year will be a down year for this team, but usually when you say this about a MSU team, it means a losing season. Saying it for this team in this sport, means they will probably be a top 10 team and still win the SEC Regular Season crown instead of a top two team. They will return Teaira McCowan on the inside, and fill out the team with Chloe Bibby, Jordan Danberry and Jazzmun Holmes, all players who played a significant amount this season.
They also will add Myah Tate, a freshman guard from Olive Branch who redshirted this season. She was a five-star recruit and reportedly played well in practice. MSU also adds three players in the top 54 of ESPNW’s 2018 HoopGurlz Recruiting Rankings. Two are five-star players in 6'5 Daphane White and 6'3 Jessica Carter, and then there is 6'1 wing Xaria Wiggins, a high four-star recruit.
The only two five-star recruits who played this season were McCowan and Vivians. Head coach Vic Schaefer is bringing in top-flight talent to replace those he lost. The point is, this was not a once in a lifetime opportunity for MSU.
Schaefer has built MSU into a women’s basketball powerhouse program, one that is here to stay for the long haul. He has recruited talent across the board, and while they may not be dominant next season, they will be back to their dominant ways in no time.