The last six months have been a whirlwind for Jason Trufant.
Whether it has been hiring coaches, doing paperwork, unveiling a new athletic logo, compiling manuals, or traveling throughout the Golden Triangle, the new director of athletics at Mississippi University for Women has had plenty to do to increase awareness about the school's plan to bring back women's intercollegiate athletics and to introduce men's sports for the 2017-18 school year.
Coaches savor every win.
That's why it's difficult for Vic Schaefer to pick one he would call the best, even if his Mississippi State women's basketball team has played only eight games.
The dilemma Schaefer faces is understandable considering MSU (8-0) has played seven games away from the comfortable confines of Humphrey Coliseum. The game MSU did play at home -- a 79-68 victory against then-No. 8 Texas -- ranks with a victory against Oregon in the Rainbow Wahine Showdown in Honolulu.
WEST POINT -- Continuity is the life blood of most championship programs.
While coaches are fond of talking about how great teams have great players, they often don't discuss the importance of having leaders who understand what it take to make a program special. It doesn't matter if you call it a mind-set or an identity. Championship programs need leaders who can establish a foundation, get their players to buy into that concept, and attack it every day with a relentlessness that dares someone -- anyone -- to stop them.
CARROLLTON, Ala. -- Abigail Colvin might be a little hard on herself.
But the Pickens Academy senior has a knack for picking out the right memory to illustrate how much she has matured as a softball player since she was a sixth-grader.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Hannah Cook didn't know how to describe her fancy footwork.
Was it a juke step? Did she know how much time she had to get the shot off?
The junior guard knew she had only seconds remaining in regulation to launch a 3-pointer from the top of the key, so she calmly executed a step back move to free herself from Kansas' Kylee Kopatich.
CALEDONIA -- "Guess what happened?"
Bailie Cross didn't have any idea what her mother, Beth, was talking about when she arrived home from school last month.
Cross said she and her mother usually talk about their days when she gets home from Caledonia High School, but she had a feeling something was different this time.
STARKVILLE -- Vic Schaefer assembled the Mississippi State women's basketball team's 2016-17 schedule knowing full well his team was going to learn how to handle being the hunted.
Trips to Maine and Hawaii as well as a game against Tulane in Biloxi and a lone home game against then-No. 8 Texas have provided plenty of evidence No. 6 MSU has accepted the growing bull's eye on its back and is prepared to travel to any destination to prove it is worthy.
WEST POINT -- It's nearly time.
Everitt Cunningham can hardly contain himself. After waiting ever since his freshman season, the West Point senior finally will get to play for a state championship at 7 p.m. Saturday when West Point (13-1) takes on Laurel (13-1) in the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 5A State title game at Mississippi State's Davis Wade Stadium.
STARKVILLE -- You'll have to excuse Chinwe Okorie's confusion.
Even though she is a senior, the Mississippi State center has been playing basketball for only four years, so she is still getting used to all of the festivities that follow games and tournaments.
Keil Moore saw the potential in Chloe Bibby the first time he saw her play.
As international director of scouting for Prospectsnation.com, a website that covers women's college basketball recruiting, Moore was in the Czech Republic for the 2014 International Basketball federation (FIBA) Under-17 World Championships. One of the standout players Moore saw at the event was Bibby, a 6-foot-1 forward who was playing for Australia. Moore was struck by Bibby's "blue-collar feel" as well as her toughness and strength.
Tyler Anderson and Logan Sneed will be on opposite sides of the field Friday afternoon.
WEST POINT -- Gunslinger. Playmaker. Leader.
WEST POINT -- Everitt Cunningham has heard it for years.
STARKVILLE -- "Live it" has become a new mantra for Vic Schaefer's Mississippi State women's basketball team.
Brothers find a way to get the job done.
Chris Chambless likely will admit the West Point High School football team played a first half to forget Friday night in the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 5A North State title game at McCallister Field at Hamblin Stadium.
There usually is a false sense of security when you have defeated a team in the regular season. That confidence gets even bigger when the margin is as large as the 39-17 cushion West Point enjoyed in its victory against Region 1 rival Lake Cormorant on Oct. 14.
WEST POINT -- The stance screamed "whew."
With hands on hips and arms angled to form 90-degree angles, Casey Welch could finally exhale.
The West Point High School co-offensive coordinator already had played prognosticator when he called "touchdown" on Marcus Murphy's pass before Everitt Cunningham rambled 44 yards for the score.
WEST POINT -- Two hours, 16 minutes is an eternity in a high school football game.
But even a presumed march to inevitability can turn into a slog that creates doubt and frustration when you're trying to get your program to its first state title game in six years.
STARKVILLE -- Place a check mark next to the Mississippi State women's basketball team's first objective of the 2016-17 season.
Social media chatter doesn't faze Drew McBrayer.
LaToya Thomas was part of the first hey day of Mississippi State women's basketball.
The Greenville product lit up scoreboards across the Southeastern Conference en route to a career in which she was a four-time Kodak All-American and led the Bulldogs to the second round of the NCAA tournament three times.
But Thomas, who is MSU's all-time leading scorer with 2,981 points, never played before a crowd of more than 6,055 at Humphrey Coliseum. That's why it was so special for the three-time player of the year finalist to be back at the Hump on Sunday to see a crowd of 7,762 on hand to watch then-No. 10 MSU beat then-No. 8 Texas 79-68 before a national television audience on the SEC Network.
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