NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - The historical season for the No. 2 Mississippi State women's basketball team achieved another milestone Thursday night.
With a dominating 95-50 win against Vanderbilt in Memorial Gymnasium, MSU clinched a share of the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship for the first time in program history. The Bulldogs also secured the top seed in the conference tournament.
MSU can win the title outright by winning one of its final three regular-season games. Next up is Texas A&M Sunday in Humphrey Coliseum.
MSU continued its best start in program history by moving to 27-0 overall and 13-0 in conference play. The conference win total matches last season's school-record mark of 13-3. Vanderbilt fell to 6-21 and 2-11.
"We came out ready to play," MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. "I was concerned going in because Vanderbilt has been shooting the ball well as of late. They shot the ball well in this game. We forced 26 turnovers. That was a big stat. I really thought we went out there and took it tonight.
"This team has been in this position (clinching the SEC) and didn't respond. Tonight, they did. We played well in every phase of the game. I liked our toughness. The way we shared the basketball. The way we defended."
With three games remaining in the regular season, MSU and Connecticut remain the only Division I women's basketball teams with undefeated records.
The Bulldogs shot 54.4 percent from the field, including hitting 10 3-point shot attempts. MSU also forced 26 turnovers, scoring 34 points off the takeaways.
MSU placed five players in double figures. Teaira McCowan and Victoria Vivians each shared scoring honors with 19 points apiece. McCowan collected 11 rebounds for her 19th double-double. Roshunda Johnson added 13 points, while Blair Schaefer scored 12 points and Jordan Danberry scored 10 points.
Morgan William finished with nine assists, while both Jazzmun Holmes and Johnson each had five steals.
The Bulldogs came out firing early. Behind three 3-point baskets by Johnson, the Bulldogs sprinted to a 20-9 lead. Johnson also capped a 6-0 run to end the quarter, giving her team a 26-11 lead.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs used a 12-3 run to extend the lead to 21 at 40-19. A layup by Vivians capped the first-half scoring, giving the Maroon and White a 50-26 halftime lead.
In the second half, McCowan and Danberry went to work with the Bulldogs never in any real danger. Each player scored 10 second-half points.
A 17-6 run to end the third quarter gave the Bulldogs a 76-38 lead.
For the contest, MSU hit 37 of 68 shots from the field (54.4 percent), 10 of 25 shots from 3-point range (40.0 percent) and 11 of 14 shots from the foul line (78.6 percent). Vanderbilt hit 22 of 43 shots from the field (51.2 percent), 4 of 12 shots from 3-point range (33.3 percent) and 2 of 4 shots from the foul line (50.0 percent).
MSU held a 34-20 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 16 assists and 10 turnovers, while the Commodores had 14 assists and 26 turnovers.
Vanderbilt received 14 points from Christa Reed and 12 points from Kayla Overbeck. Reed also had a team-high four rebounds for the Commodores.
MSU will host Texas A&M at 4 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2.
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