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Mississippi State women use strong second quarter to surge past Crimson Tide

Photo: MSU Athletics

Victoria Vivians led the Bulldogs with 21 points.

Posted: Jan. 14, 2018 9:41 PM
Updated: Jan. 14, 2018 9:41 PM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - No. 4/3 Mississippi State kept pace as one of the final three undefeated teams in women’s basketball with a 75-61 win over Alabama in Southeastern Conference play at Humphrey Coliseum.

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MSU improved to 19-0 overall and 5-0 in league play. The Bulldogs are in sole possession of first place in the conference standings, while joining Connecticut and Louisville as the nation’s final trio of undefeated team.

MSU won its 13th-straight home game dating back to last season, while moving within a win of matching last season’s program-best 20-0 start. Sunday’s contest was played before a coliseum crowd of 9,010 – third largest in the history of the women’s program.

“This was a special day,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “They had nine thousand fans in attendance and (assistant) coach Jackson had her baby. Hats off to Alabama. They played extremely well. They have seasoned veterans. They keep fighting.

“Our second quarter (outscored UA 28-9) was special. Jazzmun (Holmes) and Jordan (Danberry) came in and really impacted the game. They did that at a time where we were really struggling. We forced 26 turnovers and had 21 more shots than them. It’s hard to be 19-0 in this league. We have played a tough schedule, but we have done it with some incredibly tough kids.”

The Bulldogs quickly built an 11-4 lead five minutes into the contest. The Crimson Tide would later follow with a 12-2 run to end the quarter for 20-16 lead.

In the second quarter, the Bulldogs forced 10 turnovers and took control of the game. For the contest, the Bulldogs scored 35 points off turnovers.

The Bulldogs rallied from a 22-16 deficit with six-straight points. A 3-point play by Vivians gave the Bulldogs the lead for good at 25-24. Thanks in large part to the defensive play of Danberry, it turned into a 12-0 run for the Bulldogs and a 34-24 lead.

In the second quarter, the Bulldogs shot 52.6 percent from the field, helping take a 44-29 lead at halftime.

The lead would later grow to 21 with an 8-0 run midway through the third quarter.

Victoria Vivians led the offensive attack for the Bulldogs with 21 points. Teaira McCowan added 19 points and Roshunda Johnson added 14 points. McCowan recorded her 13th double-double as she added a game-high 16 rebounds.

Morgan William led the Bulldogs with four assists, while Jordan Danberry added 12 strong minutes off the bench and collected three of her team’s 10 steals.

For the contest, MSU hit 27 of 63 shots from the field (42.9 percent), 5 of 15 shots from 3-point range (33.3 percent) and 16 of 21 shots from the foul line (76.2 percent). Alabama hit 22 of 42 shots from the field (52.4 percent), 7 of 9 shots from 3-point range (77.8 percent) and 10 of 13 shots from the foul line (76.9 percent).

MSU held a 35-26 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 10 assists and 13 turnovers, while the Crimson Tide had 11 assists and 26 turnovers.

Alabama (13-5, 3-2) received 25 points from Hannah Cook and 10 points from Jasmine Walker.

MSU will take the midweek off before returning to action Sunday at No. 6/6 Tennessee. The Bulldogs and Lady Volunteers tip at 2 p.m. CT on ESPN2.

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