Five wins in a row and an incoming player showing promise — those are two positives that Vic Schaefer could have about his Mississippi State women’s basketball players competing in the World University Games and representing Team USA.
One positive that they fell just short of, though: Finishing as champions.
The team tried to make it six consecutive victories against Australia, which would have given them the gold medal in the tournament, but the defending champion Australian team used a timely run — a 29-14 stretch in the third quarter —to defeat Team USA 80-72.
“We got beat by a better, veteran team today,” Schaefer told Mississippi State communications. “We have gone through a gauntlet of seven teams from different countries with the best players from those countries playing against our team from Mississippi State. I couldn’t be prouder of our kids.”
The Bulldogs were led by incoming freshman Rickea Jackson for much of the tournament. The former ALL-USA Second Team selection led all scorers with 18 points in the final game. Prior to the final, Jackson led her team in scoring with an average of 23 points per game, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.
Mississippi State’s first regular season game is its BIG 12/SEC Challenge, which comes against West Virginia on Dec. 8.
Last season, Mississippi State won the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs finished 33-3, losing in the elite eight of the NCAA Tournament to Oregon 88-84.
Jackson’s Detroit Edison Academy finished this year ranked No. 6 in the Girls Basketball Super 25 Rankings.