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.

Cases: 497790

Reported Deaths: 9917
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34102530
DeSoto31839398
Hinds31837622
Jackson24314377
Rankin21881388
Lee15427234
Madison14525279
Jones13772241
Forrest13412250
Lauderdale11937314
Lowndes10934185
Lamar10470135
Pearl River9431237
Lafayette8454138
Hancock7697126
Washington7365156
Oktibbeha7111129
Monroe6727174
Warren6642176
Pontotoc6609101
Neshoba6606205
Panola6460131
Marshall6386132
Bolivar6266145
Union596094
Pike5784152
Alcorn5633101
Lincoln5417134
George491879
Scott470998
Tippah465381
Prentiss464181
Leflore4627143
Itawamba4596104
Adams4570119
Tate4546109
Copiah445191
Simpson4421116
Wayne438572
Yazoo438586
Covington427394
Marion4216107
Sunflower4215104
Coahoma4115104
Leake407787
Newton380879
Grenada3692108
Stone358464
Tishomingo356391
Attala330289
Jasper328265
Winston313191
Clay306375
Chickasaw296767
Clarke290694
Calhoun277945
Holmes266987
Smith262550
Yalobusha232647
Tallahatchie225251
Walthall217763
Greene215548
Lawrence211140
Perry204755
Amite203954
Webster201645
Noxubee185340
Montgomery179056
Jefferson Davis170642
Carroll167438
Tunica158639
Benton147438
Kemper141241
Choctaw133026
Claiborne131237
Humphreys129038
Franklin119128
Quitman106227
Wilkinson104539
Jefferson94234
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 814025

Reported Deaths: 15179
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1140561910
Mobile722691323
Madison52017686
Shelby37304341
Baldwin37087540
Tuscaloosa34966599
Montgomery33971725
Lee23149240
Calhoun22159470
Morgan20659372
Etowah19764496
Marshall18254300
Houston17310405
St. Clair15921337
Cullman15325290
Limestone15222198
Elmore15086284
Lauderdale14157294
Talladega13723272
DeKalb12574259
Walker11089366
Blount10102174
Autauga9901146
Jackson9793180
Coffee9182189
Dale8864181
Colbert8791200
Tallapoosa7044195
Escambia6743127
Covington6685179
Chilton6592160
Russell626158
Franklin5935105
Chambers5560142
Marion4958126
Dallas4889199
Clarke473482
Pike4720105
Geneva4564126
Winston4476101
Lawrence4266117
Bibb421786
Barbour355675
Marengo334089
Monroe330462
Randolph327663
Butler324894
Pickens313982
Henry311265
Hale309487
Cherokee300057
Fayette290979
Washington251151
Cleburne247058
Crenshaw243775
Clay240767
Macon230762
Lamar217846
Conecuh185652
Coosa178838
Lowndes174161
Wilcox167738
Bullock151744
Perry138040
Sumter131138
Greene125844
Choctaw87027
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