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MSU women’s basketball ranked in preseason AP Top 25

Mississippi State guard Jordan Danberry (24) dribbles the ball against South Carolina guard...
Mississippi State guard Jordan Danberry (24) dribbles the ball against South Carolina guard Tyasha Harris, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford) (Photo: The Associated Press)(WTOK)
Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 12:42 PM CST
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STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics) - Mississippi State retained its reputation as one of the top teams in the country heading into the 2020-21 season, being tabbed No. 6 in the Associated Press' Preseason Top 25 Poll.

Dating back to Nov. 24, 2014, the Bulldogs have now spent 115 consecutive weeks inside the AP Top 25, marking the longest streak in program history. That marks the fifth-longest active streak in Division I.

During the stretch, State has been ranked inside the top 10 for 73 weeks and spent 33 weeks ranked as a top-five squad. This is the sixth consecutive season that MSU has started the season ranked inside the top 25 and just the ninth time overall in program history.

A new era in Starkville begins this season, as head coach Nikki McCray-Penson takes the helm of a program that returns three starters from a year ago in preseason All-Americans Jessika Carter and Rickea Jackson along with Nancy Lieberman Award nominee Myah Taylor.

The squad also brings back several key contributors in Aliyah Matharu, JaMya Mingo-Young, Yemiyah Morris and Xaria Wiggins. Former McDonald’s All-American Sidney Cooks is eligible this season after sitting out last year. The Bulldogs also added a trio of newcomers in McDonald’s All-American Madison Hayes, skilled post Charlotte Kohl and graduate transfer Caterrion Thompson.

A member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, McCray-Penson has won championships at all levels of her basketball career. As a coach, she has been a part of one national championship, four conference championships and four conference tournament championships. As a player, she was a two-time Olympic gold medalist and 1998 World Cup gold medalist while competing for Team USA. She led her Columbus Quest team to the 1997 ABL Championship. During college, she helped Tennessee win three SEC regular-season championships and two SEC Tournament titles.

Playing on ranked teams with the Lady Vols, McCray-Penson joined a group of 44 coaches all time that have both played on and coached teams that have been ranked inside the AP Top 25.