COLUMBIA, Mo. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Victoria Vivians hit the game-winning shot with four seconds left in regulation time to keep No. 2 Mississippi State undefeated Thursday night and make the seniors the winningest class in program history.
Vivians hit the go-ahead shot and Blair Schaefer drew a charge on No. 15 Missouri’s possession as the Bulldogs knocked off the Tigers 57-53 at Mizzou Arena.
After winning 14-straight games by double figures, MSU had to work hard in this one, erasing a nine-point halftime deficit, while trailing at the half for only the second time this season.
The Bulldogs turned the tide by holding the Tigers to six third-quarter points. Still, things were tight down the stretch with the Bulldogs needing some key baskets and defensive stops to pull out the road win.
MSU continued its best start in program history by moving to 23-0 overall and 9-0 in league play. Missouri saw a six-game home win streak against ranked opponents snapped, while falling to 17-5 and 5-4.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these kids,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “That was one heck of a basketball game. Missouri has built quite the program. Two teams were getting after it. Both teams played extremely hard. We are giving God the glory for 23-0. This is not normal. It is so hard to do. My players continue to battle, to fight, to handle having that target on your back.”
Schaefer led the Bulldogs with 20 points, while Teaira McCowan added 17 points and Vivians added 15 points. McCowan recorded her conference-best 16th double-double with 17 rebounds.
Missouri built a four-point lead in the late stages of the first quarter. The Bulldogs responded with six-straight points for an 18-16 lead. Missouri would then respond with seven-straight points for a 23-18 lead.
Missouri followed with a 6-0 run to build a 10-point lead and would later lead 34-25 at halftime.
The Bulldogs cut into the lead quickly in the second half with seven-straight points in the space of a minute. After pulling within two after that stretch, the Bulldogs did not reclaim a lead until a jumper by Vivians placed the Bulldogs on top 39-38 with 3:34 left in the third quarter.
A jumper by Schaefer gave the Bulldogs a 43-40 lead after three quarters.
It then appeared MSU was finally in good shape after a four-minute stretch where Missouri was held scoreless in the fourth quarter. Four-straight free throws by Schaefer capped an 8-0 run as the Bulldogs led 53-47.
Missouri would tie the game on a 3-pointer from Sophie Cunningham with 12 seconds left.
For the contest, MSU hit 18 of 59 shots from the field (30.5 percent), 4 of 14 shots from 3-point range (28.6 percent) and 17 of 27 shots from the foul line (63.0 percent). Missouri hit 20 of 49 shots from the field (40.8 percent), 7 of 20 shots from 3-point range (35.0 percent) and 6 of 7 shots from the foul line (85.7 percent).
Missouri held a 39-36 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had five assists and six turnovers, while the Tigers had 14 assists and 12 turnovers.
Missouri received 20 points from Cunningham and 10 points from Amber Smith.
Another Hail State Hoops luncheon is scheduled for Friday at 11:30 a.m., where Schaefer and members of his squad will recap the extending of their undefeated start and preview the upcoming league games.
MSU will host No. 7 South Carolina at 6 p.m. Monday on ESPN2.