STARKVILLE -- Another preseason accolade came for Mississippi State women's basketball Thursday, as the Bulldogs were tabbed No. 13 in the USA Today Preseason Top 25 Coaches' Poll.
Reigning SEC Coach of the Year Vic Schaefer's squad moved up five places from where it ended the 2014-15 campaign. State was the third-highest SEC team in the poll, following No. 2 South Carolina and No. 4 Tennessee.
In addition to the Gamecocks and Lady Vols, four other teams on the Bulldogs' schedule were ranked in the poll. Texas came in at No. 11, while Texas A&M and Kentucky rated 16th and 17th, respectively. South Florida, the Bulldogs' opponent on Dec. 30 in the SEC/AAC Challenge in Jacksonville, Fla., came in at No. 19.
Florida Gulf Coast, State's foe in the Puerto Rico Classic on Dec. 20, was the third team outside the Top 25.
After finishing last season with school records for wins (27-7 overall and 11-5 SEC), the latest ranking came after MSU rated No. 6 by Athlon and No. 8 by Lindy's. Last week media members predicted MSU to finish third in the SEC.
MSU returns four starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's team. Schaefer has three of his top four scorers back with preseason first team All-SEC selection Victoria Vivians (14.9 ppg), Morgan William (9.1 ppg) and Breanna Richardson (8.4 ppg).
Fans can get their first look at the Bulldogs in tonight's Maroon-White Scrimmage. Tip at Humphrey Coliseum is set for 6 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30. Admission to the event is free.
Mississippi State hosts Mississippi College in a Nov. 10 exhibition before officially beginning the season with a 5:15 p.m. tip at the Hump against Samford on Nov. 13.