It was a senior story, as Victoria Vivians, Roshunda Johnson, Blair Schaefer, and Morgan William made the most of their night to shine in a 82-61 victory over the Auburn Tigers. They lit up Humphrey Coliseum under the bright lights, having combined for 51 of Mississippi State’s 82 points. That said, everybody took advantage of the spotlight, resulting in the SEC Champion Bulldogs remaining undefeated at 29-0.
As always, head coach Vic Schaefer will find something to improve on, but has all the reason to smile after tonight’s complete effort. Turnovers have been an issue, as Mississippi State had 16 on the night. When up by double-digits, the Bulldogs have had a tendency to relax and not take care of the ball. Vic is well aware and will likely have it resolved sooner rather than later.
Johnson is in the midst of a hot streak, borderline unconscious as a shooter. Though known for her defense, she is running on all cylinders offensively. Johnson has developed into a star with an all-around game, able to fill any void when needed. She filled the stat line with 16 points, five rebounds, two assists, three steals, and two blocks.
Also with 16 points, Victoria Vivians was the team’s main scoring threat, making it look easy with unrivaled range. She added seven rebounds, an assist, and a steal. One could argue that Vivians could be the best nation’s most lethal scorer. Furthermore, she may just be the nation’s best player.
Morgan William has become more comfortable as a facilitator, rounding out the night with 13 points and four assists. Her leadership, confidence, and selflessness showed all game, infectious amongst teammates. More than ready for another run at a national championship, William has picked the perfect time to be at her best.
Blair added two quick threes, still looking to get back in a groove after shooting 2-7 from beyond the arc. However, she is only getting better defensively. Schaefer has and will continue to be a sniper from three, as she is sure to return to form. Her ability to set the tone is unmatched, and will be a force through tournament play.
Schaefer has shined bright throughout her Mississippi State career, having helped take a program to new heights. Her spirit and overall game are one of the main reasons for the Bulldogs’ success, as this program has become a true powerhouse. She knows what it means to take on adversity and has shown it all season long.
Teaira McCowan dominated the paint with yet another double-double. Her 16 points and 18 rebounds took over the game, as the Tigers had no answer on either end of the floor. McCowan is right up there with South Carolina’s Aja Wilson as it pertains to the most intimidating paint presence in the country. Her defensive tenacity and willingness to crash the boards speaks high volumes and has lifted Mississippi State to another level.
Jazzmun Holmes is a superstar in the making, plain and simple. Her eight points, six assists, and two steals sparked the Bulldogs and iced the game with 1:32 left in regulation. Her on-court awareness and overall epitomizes the meaning of Mississippi State basketball. Holmes will be an integral component for the Bulldogs going forward, proving her reliability game after game.
Mississippi State continues to show they are a complete team and title contender. Though there is still work to be done, this team is nothing short of amazing. They are fun to watch, and know when to show up. The Bulldogs travel to Lexington to face the Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday at Noon ET.