Mississippi State expects crowd at Colonial Life Arena to make things challenging
One of the biggest rivalries in the SEC will have another installment Monday as No. 10 Mississippi State comes to Colonial Life Arena to take on the top team in the nation, the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer and guard Jordan Danberry spoke to media ahead of the game. Both spoke on how the Gamecock crowd will play a factor in Monday’s matchup. Schaefer said there’s really no simulation for what his team is about to face in terms of crowd noise.
“Let’s be honest, some of our young kids are still getting used to playing in front of 8000 here at home,” he said. “I think the only way to prepare for that is you have to experience it.”
“I think our veterans like Jordan, they understand it. They’ll be people in the stands screaming at you, hollering at you. They may have personal things they’re saying and you wonder how they even know that about you and that’s anywhere. That’s just part of being on the road and I think you just have to let it go in one ear and out the other.”
Schaefer added he’s not impervious to the heckling.
“It seems like every time we go there, there’s some guy behind the bench that knows my history. He’s got all the info about me and he’s constantly talking to me the entire game. And that’s fine. That’s part of college athletics going on the road.”
Danberry said communication with each other on the court becomes that much more important.
“We have to play hard every minute,” she said. “We have to finish plays out. We’re gonna have to talk more, communicate more because it is going to be a loud arena. We’re probably not going to be able to hear as many plays like normally. We’re going to have to communicate better and just be ready to go out there and fight.”
The Bulldogs were able to clench its 2nd SEC title with a 68-64 win over South Carolina last year in Colonial Life Arena. Danberry was asked about the importance of being confident and she said coming into the contest, confidence is key.
“I think confidence is super important. Just to know that we’re going in there expecting to win and expecting to give it our all even though it’s a chaotic environment. We still have to get our job done, but confidence is very important.”
Schaefer praised USC head coach Dawn Staley for building a program that garners the type of support her Gamecocks have and added the atmosphere is great for the game.
“I think that’s what makes both of our programs so unique and special is that we do have tremendous support at home and it’s a great environment. It’s a great environment for women’s college basketball.”
Tip-off Monday at 7 p.m. EST.