The identity of the Mississippi State women's basketball team won't be established with tonight's exhibition game against Shorter College at Humphrey Coliseum.
In coach Vic Schaefer's mind, it's a continuing process for the Lady Bulldogs of how they handle their business on and off the court.
"It's one thing to talk the talk, but it's another to walk the walk," Schaefer said at Thursday's on-campus media day. "If you want to be good, there is a price to pay. In athletics, it's easier to talk it than it is to walk it.
"For them to be as good as they can possibly can be, it's the way you handle yourself every day. It's everything from going to class, to taking notes, to study habits, to how you practice. Being a championship basketball player or a championship person is a way of life. It doesn't start at 1 p.m. (at practice). As coaches, we're teaching that. We're not just teaching from 1-4 p.m.. We're teaching 24/7 to these young ladies and trying to develop the mindset it takes to be successful."
Even though the 7 p.m. exhibition game won't define MSU, it's a piece to the puzzle and one Schaefer looks forward to after 21 practices.
"I know our kids are excited about it and as a staff, we're excited about it," Schaefer said. "Because of the way we play, a lot of times it's difficult to get a feel for what we're able to do offensively because we're doing some things on defense that keeps us from doing some things (on offense), but that's what we want to do.
"We had a good work out (Wednesday). I saw some good things and our kids that haven't necessarily been doing every day. When we start piecing two, three and four together, that's when you are making progress."
As far as who has caught Schaefer's eye on the court so far this preseason, redshirt sophomore Carecia Williams has shown him some toughness and the ability to play through the pain of a knee injury. He also likes the competitiveness of point guards Jerica James and Katia May.
"I certainly like defensively what Katia has brought to the table," Schaefer said.
James plans to use the exhibition game to give Schaefer more of what he's looking for in a player.
"We're expecting to go out hustle and play hard," James said. "We're looking for all of that conditioning to pay off. We're ready."