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Lady Bulldogs, Schaefer ready for a challenge

October 25, 2012

Mississippi State women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer listens to a question Thursday at SEC Basketball Media Days. (Photo by Ben Wait, SDN)

HOOVER, Ala. – The Mississippi State women's basketball team was picked to finish 11th in the Southeastern Conference on Tuesday.

With that in mind, there are probably going to be some tough moments in Vic Schaefer's first season as head coach of the Lady Bulldogs.

It won't be the first time Schaefer has overcome that type of adversity in the SEC.

During his tenure as an assistant to Gary Blair at Arkansas from 1997-03, there were times of having growing pains.

The Lady Razorbacks enjoyed success in the second year (1998). After finishing sixth in the SEC, they went to the Final Four.

Schaefer said that type of success just doesn't happen because the SEC can be very unforgiving.

"(The SEC has) got the best players in the country," Schaefer said at SEC Media Days Thursday. "If you are not ready in this league every night, you're not just going to get beat, you're going to get embarrassed. The challenge for us or anyone in this league is when the lights go on, you'd better be ready.

"We've got to best officials officiating this league; you've got the best coaches with Hall of Famers and you have the players. It's the elite of the elite. I think that's what the SEC is all about, it produces champions."

Schaefer was exposed to the SEC media for the first time as a head coach, but he was far from being uncomfortable.

Blair gave Schaefer a great deal of responsibility during their time together.

"I've had the opportunity to talk with the media over the years," Schaefer said. "This is the best conference in the country, not just women's basketball, but it's the best academic and athletic conference in the country and obvious women's basketball is very important in the Southeastern Conference."

MSU being picked 11th in the preseason doesn't bother Schaefer. He looks at it as an opportunity.

"It's an exciting day for us and Mississippi State," Schaefer said. "There's going to be a day when we get things done like we've been hired to do, we'll be preseason No. 1 and that's what happened where we were before. I've got to blueprint for that and we're going to do everything we can to make it happen at Mississippi State."

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