STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State women's basketball team has thrived on punching first and refusing to allow opponents to get up off the mat.
But sometimes the sweet science of March Madness relies on subtle adjustments instead of a haymaker that renders the other team helpless.
Blayze Berry is back with a vengeance.
If you ever wondered what it was like to miss something you loved, just ask the Heritage Academy sophomore infielder/pitcher what it was like last year to suffer a season-ending medial patellofemoral ligament injury.
STARKVILLE -- Dionnah Jackson-Durrett could tell the difference in Morgan William on Monday night.
Maybe it's a point-guard thing that allowed the Mississippi State assistant women's basketball coach to recognize the senior leader had a different air about her for the team's second-round NCAA tournament matchup against No. 9 seed Oklahoma State.
STARKVILLE -- Vic Schaefer doesn't often use the word "dominate" to describe an opponent's performance against his defense.
That Schaefer used that term when discussing the effort of Oklahoma State's Loryn Goodwin in the Mississippi State women's basketball team's 79-76 victory in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Dec. 3 in Starkville speaks volumes about the ability of the graduate student.
STARKVILLE -- Jim Littell has enjoyed the journey.
These days, there aren't very many coaches who have worked at nearly every level of their sport and have climbed to the top of the profession.
STARKVILLE -- Adjustments come naturally to Loryn Goodwin.
When you have been a part of four basketball programs, you find a way to build chemistry with teammates, especially when you have the ball in your hands as much as Goodwin.
STARKVILLE -- Balance and versatility have been keys to the Mississippi State women's basketball team's success in 2017-18.
Each game, any one of the Bulldogs' starting five could have emerged with a big game to carry the squad to a victory.
STARKVILLE -- The tapping will reverberate in Humphrey Coliseum until Monday night.
STARKVILLE -- Vic Schaefer needed a jolt Saturday night.
STARKVILLE -- DoBee Plaisance doesn't swear.
The Nicholls women's basketball coach burns with an intensity that allows her to deliver a message louder and more effectively without profanity.
STARKVILLE -- The answers come easily for Teaira McCowan, Morgan William, and Victoria Vivians, even if their responses are different.
When each player was asked Friday what was the loudest they remember hearing it in Humphrey Coliseum, the players looked at each other for a moment before McCowan seized the opportunity.
Bailie Cross can relax.
The Caledonia High School standout admits the past few months have had plenty of anxious moments. That's because Cross, who has played volleyball for years, didn't know if she was going to get a chance to play the sport she loves in college.
STARKVILLE -- Every team goes through some kind of lull, especially in the marathon that is the college basketball season.
When you're in a conference like the Big 12, those lulls can become extended doldrums pretty quickly.
STARKVILLE -- Quentin Hillsman says his dreams scare him.
It's not because the Syracuse women's basketball coach is a fan of horror movies. Hillsman's dreams scare him because his goal every year is to win every game and to win a national championship.
If you want to get fired up, just listen to DoBee Plaisance talk about defense.
"Defense takes a little talent and it is all about toughness and intangibles," Plaisance said. "You play tough defense, you rebound the ball, and defense travels."
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State practices have a familiar look this season.
A year after being part of what was the winningest senior class in the history of the women's basketball program, Dominique Dillingham is in a new role as student assistant coach. Among the many roles Dillingham carries out, she occasionally takes part in MSU practices. When Dillingham does, she usually elicits a typical reaction from MSU coach Vic Schaefer.
STARKVILLE -- Chemistry is vital to Johnnie Harris.
As important as that quality is to building and maintaining a successful coaching staff, Harris reserves the right to agree to disagree with Vic Schaefer, Dionnah Jackson-Durrett, and Carly Thibault-DuDonis. That's part of why she feels the Mississippi State women's basketball coaches work so well together.
People in Starkville know the story well.
But with women's basketball fans from Louisiana, New York, and Oklahoma set to arrive in Mississippi, it's a perfect time to tell the tale again. It's kind of like when Santa Claus visits Starkville every year to read "A Visit from St. Nicholas" to the children on the court at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE -- The time for answering questions has nearly expired.
STARKVILLE -- Teaira McCowan is used to shouldering a bull's eye.
At 6-foot-7, McCowan is one of the tallest players in Division I basketball. A season that has featured a single-season record 23 double-doubles has helped the bull's eye on her back grow even bigger.
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