STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – No. 2 Mississippi State a school record for victories to start the season with a 90-53 win over Florida in Southeastern Conference women's basketball action Thursday at Humphrey Coliseum.
With the win, MSU set the new standard for season-opening victories with its 21st-straight win. The Bulldogs are 21-0 overall and 7-0 in league play. MSU and Connecticut remain the only undefeated teams in Division I women's basketball.
Florida saw a two-game winning streak snapped, while falling to 10-11 and 2-6.
"I want to compliment my team," MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. "It's hard to do what they are doing. There was a little weight on their shoulders to start the game (trying to set the record). Our defense really picked it up in the second quarter.
"In the second half, defensively, we were really good. Fourteen forced turnovers in the second half. Thirty-six points in the paint in the second half. Our defense really turned into offense."
Teaira McCowan led the Bulldogs with 23 points and eight rebounds. Victoria Vivians added 17 points, while Blair Schaefer added 15 points. Morgan William had seven assists. McCowan also joined the 1,000-point club with her performance Thursday night.
MSU shot 54.4 percent from the field, including 50 percent from 3-point range. The Bulldogs had 18 assists on 37 made baskets.
The Bulldogs started strong on the offensive end. Back-to-back baskets by Vivians and McCowan ran the lead to 15-7. The lead would grow to 10 at 20-10 before the Bulldogs held a 20-13 lead after one quarter.
Florida followed with a 5-0 run to cut the deficit at 22-20 in the early stages of the second quarter. The Bulldogs then turned some things up on the defensive end with a 13-0 run. A 3-pointer by Blair Schaefer ran the lead to 35-20.
MSU shot 42.9 percent from the field and led 35-23 at halftime.
The Bulldogs found separation in the third quarter with 31 points scored.
Another 3-pointer by Schaefer ran the lead to 46-30 with 5:20 left in the third quarter. An 11-0 run would push the Bulldogs to a 59-33 advantage with 3:09 left third quarter.
For the contest, MSU hit 37 of 68 shots from the field (54.4 percent), 7 of 14 shots from 3-point range (50.0 percent) and 9 of 12 shots from the foul line (75.0 percent). Florida hit 23 of 58 shots from the field (39.7 percent), 4 of 18 shots from 3-point range (22.2 percent) and 3 of 5 shots from the foul line (60.0 percent).
Florida held a 37-32 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 18 assists and seven turnovers, while the Gators had 10 assists and 23 turnovers.
Florida (10-11, 2-6) received 19 points from Funda Nakkasoglu and 10 points from Delicia Washington. Haley Lorenzen had a team-high 12 rebounds, while Washington recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds.
MSU will complete its season series with arch-rival Ole Miss Sunday afternoon. The Bulldogs and Rebels meet at 1 p.m. from The Pavilion in Oxford on ESPNU.
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