Although not perfect by the Bulldogs’ standards, Mississippi State is now 21-0, their best start in history, defeating Florida 90-53. Shining bright on her senior night, Victoria Vivians took advantage, filling the stat line with 17 points, two rebounds, three assists, and two steals. As always, it took just one shot for Vivians to take over. Surrounded by crowns and smiles, the opposition simply had no answer for her majesty.
With confidence and consistency, Vivians stayed true to her game, not giving up after a subpar start. She was able to make the necessary adjustments when needed, proving once again what separates a superstar from the norm. The score read 22-20 at one point, and Vivians knew what to do, as she had a different look in her eyes, quickly extending the Bulldogs’ lead.
However, it was a night to remember for everyone on the roster, including head coach Vic Schaefer who has taken Mississippi State to new heights on and off the court. Each player had their moment and made the most of it, showing relentless effort throughout. While tending to bend, the Bulldogs don’t break, as the basketball world is on full alert of the No. 2 team in the nation.
Blair Schaefer was a sniper from beyond the arc, as her five threes and 15 points tied a season high. Running the baseline and willing to pull the trigger at any moment, she was a lethal threat. Her poise is through the roof and has taken her specialty to a level higher. The three-point shot has become an essential component for any team, and Schaefer has perfected it.
She wants the ball and is unafraid. Now drawing more defenders along the perimeter, her presence opens the door in the paint. With the trust of her teammates, Schaefer is capable of setting the tone at any point in a game. Her shot was virtually unstoppable, as 5 of 8 from three speaks for itself.
Scoring her 1,000th career point, Teaira McCowan dominated inside. With 23 points, eight rebounds, two steals, and two blocks, she is in the midst of a season for the ages. Arguably the game’s most improved player, McCowan continues to put in the work, as shown at the foul line, shooting 5 of 6.
While having their way offensively, the Bulldogs are defined by tenacious defense. Morgan William and Roshunda Johnson had no mercy, as Johnson’s three steals made a statement. They were a force all night, picking the Gators apart until the score went final.
Also putting on a show of their own, Mississippi State’s second unit was at their best. Chloe Bibby, Jordan Danberry, Zion Campbell, Jazzmun Holmes, and Bre’Amber Scott proved they are more than capable of maintaining a lead, never letting up throughout the fourth quarter. Determined with an attitude, the names mentioned above had Florida on its heels, ultimately taking the game into their own hands.
The Bulldogs are a complete team, as everyone is willing to do what it takes to win. Their mindset goes beyond individual play. It prides itself on selflessness and creating the best opportunities for each other game after game. Though still room for improvement at 21-0, it was a great night overall, as even coach Schaefer couldn’t hold back a smile.