The theme was duos throughout a 75-61 win over Alabama that was anything but easy. Led by superstar Victoria Vivian’s 21 points, seven rebounds, and two assists, Mississippi State rolls on through January. Assisted by Teaira McCowan’s 19 points and 16 rebounds, the duo shined. Already regarded as one of the nation’s best, Vivians and McCowan are only becoming more dangerous.
It was a 35 minute headache, as the Crimson Tide had no answer for Vivians. Able to create opportunities for open snipers, McCowan continues to be a dominant presence in the paint. Both making a strong case for the Wooden Award, Vivians and McCowan are nothing but lethal when on the floor together.
While many teams are mentioned as elite on either offense or defense, Mississippi State excels on both ends of the floor. Being a complete team, the Bulldogs are well aware of when to show up. Each duo has brought what was needed, as this game felt closer than the final score indicated.
Though the offense was flowing, Mississippi State’s defense was at its best, forcing 26 turnovers. Each with two steals, Roshunda Johnson and Morgan William wore down Alabama when it mattered most. Johnson added 14 points of her own, igniting the Bulldogs’ offense. The duo are proven defensive specialists, both at the top of their game when alongside one another.
But it was Jazzmun Holmes and Jordan Danberry who put on a defensive clinic in the second quarter. Now with two formidable guards to come off the bench, coach Vic Schaefer may have found another dynamic duo. With four steals combined, both showed promise, likely to have earned more minutes.
It is about balance for Mississippi State, as things are now starting to click. But a much anticipated matchup at No. 6 Tennessee will be the ultimate test, with Bulldogs needing each duo and then some in Knoxville. Still undefeated at 19-0 overall, Mississippi State may have just found it has more weapons than ever before.