STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Enjoy the confetti; McCowan leads Mississippi State women to first SEC Tournament title

The No. 5 Bulldogs defeated Arkansas 101-70 Sunday in Greenville, South Carolina.

Posted: Mar 10, 2019 6:21 PM

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - When Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer climbed the ladder, snipped the net and rang a cowbell, the message was clear -- the Bulldogs were finally on top at the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Teaira McCowan had 24 points and 14 rebounds, and No. 5 Mississippi State won its first SEC tournament title in five tries with a 101-70 pounding of Arkansas on Sunday.

Schaefer has cut down his share of nets in his career, having led the Bulldogs to the Final Four the past two seasons. This one, he acknowledged, was different.

"This is certainly special," he said with a smile, the net around his neck. "This is a first."

The Bulldogs (30-2) and McCowan scored the most points ever in an SEC Tournament title game -- and ended their own 0-4 mark when reaching the event finals. They took control with an 18-0 run in the first quarter and never gave the Razorbacks (20-14) hope for a comeback after losing the crown the last three years to South Carolina.

This time, regular-season SEC champ Mississippi State left little doubt about who's the league powerhouse. The Bulldogs were up by 20 at the half and 25 through three quarters on their way to their ninth straight win over the Razorbacks.

Mississippi State surpassed Georgia's 94 points in winning the 1986 event.

When it ended, confetti rained down on the court as Bulldog players and staffers celebrated like children out in the snow. "It's an unbelievable feeling," Mississippi State guard Jazzmun Holmes said.

Arkansas was the surprise of the tournament, a 10 seed upsetting seventh-seeded Georgia, the second-seeded Gamecocks and third-seeded Texas A&M to become the highest seed ever to make the finals.

But the Razorbacks didn't have enough to match up with Mississippi State's rebounding, defensive ferocity or McCowan, the 6-foot-7 SEC player of the year who was also named tournament MVP.

McCowan made 11 of 15 shots -- all of them close to the basket -- and had three of the Bulldogs' six blocks.

"We were literally drawing up plays in the dirt trying to find a way to stop her," Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors said. "We didn't have a chance."

She wasn't alone in the rout as Mississippi State finished with three players with 20 or more points.

Andra Espinoza-Hunter also scored 24 off eight 3-pointers while Bre'Amber Scott had 20 points off the bench.

Chelsea Dungee led Arkansas with 24 points. The Razorbacks looked finished Saturday night until going on a 17-0 run over the last seven minutes to beat the 15th-ranked Aggies 58-51.

But the Bulldogs had the biggest advantage in the SEC in McCowan and made steady use of it throughout the championship game. McCowan continually set herself up near the basket and waited for Jazzmun Holmes and Jordan Danberry to lob the ball in. From there, it was a simple layup drill for McCowan, who hit 9 of 11 shots in the opening 20 minutes.

McCowan's defensive presence also impacted the Razorbacks and Dungee. Instead of an open lane, Dungee was often met by McCowan and forced to alter her shot angle to get off an attempt.

Mississippi State made its share of mistakes -- pesky Arkansas had seven steals the first two quarters -- but typically got back on track by finding its center in McCowan.

Scott, filling in early after Anriel Howard picked up two fouls, had a perfect first half, making her four shots, three of them from behind the arc, for 13 points.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 29684

Reported Deaths: 1103
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds238239
DeSoto148616
Madison126734
Jones110449
Neshoba98171
Lauderdale90079
Rankin88812
Forrest85142
Harrison84210
Scott76215
Copiah59216
Jackson58416
Leake57019
Holmes54441
Wayne53513
Lee53218
Oktibbeha53226
Washington5319
Warren49618
Yazoo4936
Leflore48049
Lowndes47212
Lincoln44334
Lamar4407
Grenada4325
Pike40712
Monroe38830
Lafayette3774
Attala35823
Sunflower3467
Newton3389
Covington3345
Panola3256
Bolivar32114
Adams29318
Simpson2833
Pontotoc2736
Marion27011
Tate2709
Chickasaw26918
Claiborne25610
Jasper2566
Winston2546
Noxubee2538
Pearl River24832
Clay24710
Marshall2173
Smith21611
Clarke20524
Coahoma1916
Union1919
Walthall1804
Kemper17714
Lawrence1701
Yalobusha1677
Carroll16411
Itawamba1348
Humphreys1329
Calhoun1284
Tippah12811
Hancock12613
Webster12610
Montgomery1242
Tallahatchie1224
Jefferson Davis1094
Prentiss1023
Greene1018
Jefferson993
Tunica933
Wilkinson929
Amite892
George783
Tishomingo741
Quitman730
Choctaw724
Perry654
Alcorn631
Stone571
Franklin412
Sharkey340
Benton300
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4802152
Montgomery3947103
Mobile3904134
Tuscaloosa218842
Marshall168010
Lee130237
Madison12717
Shelby117623
Morgan10475
Walker90524
Franklin87814
Dallas8689
Elmore86414
Baldwin8289
Etowah70713
DeKalb6945
Butler62328
Chambers61227
Tallapoosa58369
Autauga56012
Russell5190
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4736
Limestone4660
Lowndes46321
Houston4614
Cullman4354
Pike4175
Colbert3836
Coffee3702
Bullock3679
St. Clair3472
Barbour3452
Covington3437
Escambia3326
Calhoun3225
Hale30621
Marengo30011
Talladega3007
Wilcox2898
Sumter28412
Clarke2726
Dale2680
Jackson2632
Winston2463
Monroe2312
Chilton2282
Blount2261
Pickens2226
Marion21413
Randolph2019
Conecuh1977
Choctaw19512
Bibb1861
Greene1838
Macon1819
Perry1621
Henry1313
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1050
Washington1047
Cherokee857
Geneva780
Lamar751
Fayette671
Clay622
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 86°
Columbus
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 75°
Oxford
Few Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather