November 9, 2018 10:10:48 AM
STARKVILLE -- Bre'Amber Scott's bloody left eye and bruise below it won't last forever.
But the sophomore guard has been around Mississippi State women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer long enough to take those two things as reminders of how hard he wants her to play.
Scott's ability to provide Dominique Dillingham-like qualities likely will play a big role in determining how many minutes the 5-foot-11 native of Little Rock, Arkansas, sees this season. Scott will try to make another impression at 6 p.m. Friday when No. 6 takes on Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"She probably understands help-side defense better than anyone on the team," Schaefer said. "She puts herself in position more than anybody to be a good helper, so, again, she has moments she plays tough and physical. She has other moments when she may be a little tired. I have to do a better job getting her in shape, but I think she is a big, physical guard."
Scott had six points (0-for-5 from the field, 6-for-6 from the free-throw line), five rebounds, and two assists in 19 minutes Tuesday in MSU's 88-53 victory against Southeast Missouri in its season opener. She also had two points and three rebounds in 14 minutes in a 97-56 exhibition victory against Central Missouri on Nov. 2.
Scott has at least 18 minutes a game as a target to help her reach her goal of earning a spot on the Southeastern Conference's All-Defensive Team this season. The graduation of Victoria Vivians, Roshunda Johnson, Blair Schaefer, and Morgan William has created an opportunity for Scott, classmate Nyah Tate, and freshman Xaria Wiggins to earn playing time in a variety of roles. Scott hopes her willingness to get on the floor and dive for loose balls and mix it up down low -- a la Dillingham, who is now a graduate assistant coach for the Bulldogs -- will endear her to Schaefer and help her carve out an identity as someone he can count on to help shut down opposing players.
Schaefer alluded to those qualities when he praised Scott's effort in the team's Maroon-White scrimmage last month.
"I think she is kind of starting to figure some things out," Schaefer said. "That's good because when I recruited that kid I recruited her thinking she could our toughness player, she could be our defensive player, she could be our hustle kid."
Scott earned the bloody eye in that scrimmage. She said she got it "by playing hard, so that is always a good accomplishment if you get a bruise doing what you love and playing hard." Scott said Schaefer even made a point to acknowledge the souvenirs from her hard play after the game.
"He was like, 'Bre, you got yourself one there, but you got it the right way'," Scott said. "It definitely made an impression on him the way I got it."
Scott scored 39 points last season (in 23 games, 5.3 minutes per game) in the Bulldogs' program-record 37-win season and run to a second-straight national title game. After fully recovering from reconstructive shoulder surgery she said still was an issue at times in 2017-18, she said her challenge this season is to work hard every day in practice to earn a spot.
"My main focus right now is defense," Scott said. "I know some people can't guard as well as others, so I have been focusing on helping my teammates any way I can, whether it is getting a charge, being on the backside with a drive, getting a deflection, anything like that.
"Defense is one of my strong suits. That is a way I know I can get some time if I bring energy to the court."
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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