Women's countdown: No. 30 Mississippi State

Mississippi State's Ally McDonald gets a hug from athletic director Scott Stricklin during the third round of the 2013 Women's NCAA Championship.

Women's Rankings »

1SooBin KimWashington  68.24 
2Leona MaguireDuke  69.15 
3Celine BoutierDuke  69.47 
4Alison LeeUCLA  69.81 
5Annie ParkUSC  69.83 

Women's Team Rankings »

1South Carolina 70.50 
2Washington 70.67 
3Duke 71.00 
4Southern California 71.17 
5Stanford 71.20 

We are taking the next 30 days to count down the top 30 women's teams heading into the fall college season.

For the complete countdown, click here.

• • •

30. Mississippi State

2012-13 Golfweek rank: 45

Go-to girl: Junior Ally McDonald

Season outlook: This is still a very young team but one with high expectations after making its first NCAA Championship appearance last season. The Bulldogs were the youngest team at the NCAA finals, and it showed with a 24th-place finish. Ally McDonald, who finished No. 18 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings after a strong postseason, has become one of the nation's elite players and is a solid cornerstone as MSU tries to continue its momentum. McDonald had seven top-10 finishes in 12 events, including victories at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown and the NCAA Central Regional, then won the North & South Women's Amateur in July. The question is, can the four other returning starters – juniors Rica Tse and Elena Warren, senior Mary Landon Gallagher and sophomore Gabi Oubre, all of whom had stroke averages of 76.19 or above – give McDonald more consistent support and earn the Bulldogs a NCAA return trip? If so, expect a better finish this time around.

– Cassie Stein

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