CANCUN, Mexico (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – With the No. 3 Mississippi State women’s basketball team struggling in the first half, senior Victoria Vivians and junior Teaira McCowan took over.
McCowan scored 15 second-half points and Vivians scored 10 second-half points as the Bulldogs remained undefeated with a 90-54 victory over Columbia at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.
After leading 37-29 at halftime, the Bulldogs erupted for 53 second-half points to move to 5-0.
The Bulldogs shot 57.6 percent from the floor in the second half and hit four more 3-pointers to finish the game with 10.
“The second half was really good,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “We normally wear people down in the second half and we did that today. We shot it so well in the second half. Teaira had another double-double. We shared the basketball great. Our point guard play was great again today.”
Vivians finished with 23 points behind 69.2 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from behind the arc, while McCowan had her third-straight double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Blair Schaefer was also in double figures with 14 points.
Jazzmun Holmes had a team-high eight assists. The Bulldogs continue to have splendid guard play with Holmes and Morgan William combining for 12 assists and two turnovers. Vivians had three of the teams’ 10 steals.
After Columbia scored the game’s first five points, MSU finally took a lead at 8-7. A 3-pointer by Vivians and layup by McCowan ran the lead to 18-13.
William scored as the first quarter expired for a 22-20 lead.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs turned in a better defensive effort, holding the Lions to nine points. Columbia went better than four minutes without a field goal.
The Bulldogs took the lead for good by breaking a 27-27 tie with 10 straight points. Again, Columbia went right at four minutes without a basket.
In the third quarter, the Maroon and White put the contest away at the 3-point line.
The lead grew to 23 at 66-43 on back-to-back treys from Vivians and Schaefer.
The Bulldogs followed that up with nine straight points to start the fourth quarter and cruised to victory.
For the contest, MSU hit 34 of 72 shots from the field (47.2 percent), 10 of 21 shots from 3-point range (47.6 percent) and 12 of 21 shots from the foul line (57.1 percent). Columbia hit 17 of 51 shots from the field (33.3 percent), 4 of 14 shots from 3-point range (28.6 percent) and 16 of 22 shots from the foul line (72.7 percent).
MSU held a 44-35 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 19 assists and 10 turnovers, while the Lions had 11 assists and 22 turnovers.
Columbia (2-4) received 26 points from Camille Zimmerman.
MSU will conclude its tournament play by facing Green Bay at 10 a.m. CT Saturday.