April 12, 2018 8:45:41 PM
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
The wait is over. Victoria Vivians is a pro.
The Indiana Fever made it official Thursday night when they selected the Mississippi State senior with the No. 8 pick in the first round of the WNBA draft.
Vivians joins Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell (first round, No. 2 overall) and OSU forward Stephanie Mavunga (second round, No. 14) in joining the Fever, who are coached by former LSU coach "Pokey" Chatman.
Vivians is the fourth MSU player drafted in the opening round, and the first since Chanel Mokango was selected ninth overall in 2010. Tan White was taken second overall in 2005, two years after LaToya Thomas became the first Mississippian taken with the No. 1 overall pick
Vivians, a 6-foot-1 guard/forward from Carthage, recorded one of the best seasons in MSU history by averaging 19.8 points per game and scoring 773 points, which was the second-highest total in program history. She posted career-best shooting numbers -- 48.5 percent from the field, 40.4 percent from 3-point range, and 80.9 percent from the free-throw line -- in a four-guard offense that often paired her against four players, or power forwards. Those matchups enabled Vivians to showcase her improved ballhandling skills to get to the basket. As a result, Vivians scored in double figures 38 times and had 20-plus points in 20 games to become the first Bulldog since Thomas in 2003 to earn first-team All-America honors from The Associated Press. She also was a second-team honoree by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) and a third-team selection by espnW.
Vivians also averaged a career-best 6.1 rebounds per game to help lead MSU to a 37-2 finish and a second-straight appearance in the national title game.
More importantly, Vivians showed maturity as an offensive player. She passed up shots she would have taken earlier in her career. Vivians also relied more on her ballhandling to create shots for herself. The combination helped her earn first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors from the league's coaches and The AP and play a key role in MSU's undefeated regular season, the first by a Southeastern Conference team in 20 years. The Bulldogs' 16-0 run through the SEC helped them capture the program's first SEC regular-season title.
Vivians also was named to the inaugural Naismith Starting 5 after receiving the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award for being selected as the country's top shooting guard. She shared the co-Most Outstanding Player of the Kansas City Regional with Teaira McCowan, and earned All-Final Four Team accolades.
MSU seniors Roshunda Johnson, Blair Schaefer, and Morgan William also were eligible for the draft but weren't selected.
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Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.