MSU women defeat Kentucky for 26th-straight win

Victoria Vivians led the Bulldogs with 23 points.

Posted: Feb 11, 2018 11:24 PM
Updated: Feb 11, 2018 11:26 PM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - The No. 2 Mississippi State women’s basketball team treated another full crowd to a victory Sunday afternoon in the Humphrey Coliseum.

Playing before 9,520 fans, the Bulldogs knocked off Kentucky 74-55 to maintain its undefeated status while taking another step towards a possible conference championship.

MSU improved to 26-0 overall, 12-0 in league play and 14-0 at Humphrey Coliseum this season. Kentucky fell to 12-14 and 4-8. The Bulldogs snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Wildcats.

“The first quarter was really special,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “Roshunda Johnson was special there in the first half. She made some really big shots. It changes us when both Ro and Blair (Schaefer) are out there making shots. Kentucky is a heck of a team. They have had some hard luck with injuries.

“We have to go back there in two weeks and that will be a challenge.”

Victoria Vivians led the Bulldogs with 23 points. Teaira McCowan added 21 points and Roshunda Johnson added 17 points. McCowan collected her 18th double-double of the season as she had 16 rebounds, including 10 offensive rebounds.

Morgan William had eight assists and no turnovers, with a block and steal in 27 minutes of play. McCowan added three blocks and two steals.

The Bulldogs set the tone from the opening tip. A 3-pointer by Roshunda Johnson capped a 9-2 run to start the game. The Bulldogs then held the Wildcats scoreless over the final 3:35 of the quarter.

MSU scored nine points during that stretch to take a 22-8 lead after one quarter.

A 3-pointer by Blair Schaefer opened the second-quarter scoring and pushed the Bulldogs’ lead to 25-8.

Overall, the Bulldogs hit eight 3-pointers in the first half to take a 40-22 lead at halftime.

Kentucky fought back in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to nine points. Back-to-back baskets by Vivians and Johnson stopped that run and pushed the Bulldogs’ lead back to 54-41.

Kentucky closed within 12 points midway through the fourth quarter but got no closer.

For the contest, MSU hit 25 of 61 shots from the field (41.0 percent), 9 of 21 shots from 3-point range (42.9 percent) and 15 of 20 shots from the foul line (75.0 percent). Kentucky hit 19 of 52 shots from the field (36.5 percent), 6 of 15 shots from 3-point range (40.0 percent) and 11 of 14 shots from the foul line (78.6 percent).

Kentucky held a 39-33 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 18 assists and seven turnovers, while the Wildcats had eight assists and 19 turnovers.

Kentucky received 21 points from Maci Morris. Dorie Harrison had a team-high nine rebounds for the Wildcats.

Schaefer and his squad will host another installment of the Hail State Hoops Luncheon series Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. Later that night, Schaefer will take the headset for DawgTalk from The Veranda at 7 p.m.

MSU will travel to Vanderbilt Thursday to resume SEC play. The contest will tip at 7:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.

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