STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – No. 2 Mississippi State closed out the home portion of the regular-season schedule with an 82-61 victory against Auburn in Southeastern Conference women’s basketball action Thursday night at Humphrey Coliseum.
The senior class of Morgan William, Roshunda Johnson, Victoria Vivians and Blair Schaefer played for the final regular-season time before a crowd of 9,474 in the Hump. The all-time winningest senior class in program history was recognized postgame.
MSU finished with a new school record of 113,814 for 16 home dates this season. The Bulldogs will be in line to host the opening two rounds of the NCAA tournament again this season.
MSU improved to 29-0 overall, 15-0 in conference play and 16-0 at home. Auburn slipped to 13-14 and 4-11.
“This was a pretty special day,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “Senior nights are always a little bittersweet, but tonight wasn’t. That was a celebration. These seniors deserved that crowd, that attention. (Johnson) set the tone early for us. Twenty-eight points in the first quarter is a lot of points in a quarter.
“We were good in transition early. We were good on the boards in the first half. It an all-around good senior night.”
Teaira McCowan, Vivians and Johnson each led the Bulldogs with 16 points apiece. McCowan established a new school record for double-doubles in a season with her 21st thanks to an 18-rebound night. William was also in double figures with 13 points.
Jazzmun Holmes had eight points and six assists. Vivians added seven rebounds. Johnson had two assists, two blocked shots and three steals.
A fourth-straight sellout crowd was entertained from the opening tip, with the Bulldogs hitting five early 3-point baskets. A trey by Johnson gave the Bulldogs a 14-5 lead. A follow-up 10-2 run pushed the advantage to 24-7 in the final minutes of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs slowly stretched their 28-15 lead. Vivians scored on a putback to cap a 6-0 run for a 38-19 lead.
MSU led 42-29 at halftime.
Auburn closed within nine points early in the third quarter. The Bulldogs followed with seven straight points for a 49-33 lead. A jumper by McCowan pushed the lead to 20 for the first time in the contest.
MSU led 62-44 after three quarters of play.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Blair Schaefer got the fourth quarter kick-started. The lead grew to as many as 27 on three occasions.
For the contest, MSU hit 26 of 55 shots from the field (47.3 percent), 9 of 22 shots from 3-point range (40.9 percent) and 21 of 23 shots from the foul line (91.3 percent). Auburn hit 27 of 60 shots from the field (45.0 percent), 2 of 7 shots from 3-point range (28.6 percent) and 5 of 11 shots from the foul line (45.5 percent).
MSU held a 38-29 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 17 assists and 16 turnovers, while the Tigers had four assists and 15 turnovers.
Auburn received 25 points from Janiah McKay, 14 points from Daisa Alexander and 12 points from Unique Thompson. Thompson also had a team-high 10 rebounds.
MSU will close the regular season at Kentucky Sunday. The contest is set for an 11 a.m. CT start and will be televised nationally on ESPNU.