Led by superstar Maci Morris, the Wildcats came out rolling on all cylinders, as they threw the kitchen sink at Mississippi State. Having said that, it didn’t take long for the 29-0 SEC champs to wake up. While the Bulldogs are 30-0, this game felt much closer than the score indicates.
Following Tearia McCowan’s made free throw, Morris’ quick jumper set the tone for Kentucky. They led for the majority of the first, as the Bulldogs eventually tied it on a three from Blair Schaefer with 4:14 left in the quarter. With 22 points, three rebounds, two assists, three steals, and three blocks, it is safe to say that Morris showed out on both ends of the floor.
She is a natural born leader and student of the game, always willing to singlehandedly carry the team on her shoulders. Her future is more than bright and her name will be not overlooked after a performance of this magnitude. In addition, it is rare to see anybody have such an outing against the defensive powerhouse that is Mississippi State.
The Wildcats pushed the Bulldogs around with an attitude, plain and simple. Though 30-0 sounds nice, this game showed that there is plenty to work on before the tournament. That said, the Bulldogs put on a show of their own.
McCowan had herself a game and a half, as she is back and in full force. Highlighted by a double-double with 20 points and 20 rebounds, she was unstoppable. She added two assists and five blocks. Her dominance in the paint is an integral component to Mississippi State’s success, as it was on full display in Lexington.
She was 4-7 from line, an area she needs to improve in. However, the five blocks spoke higher volumes. Her reemergence on the defensive end gave the Bulldogs a new level of energy that lifted them to a win.
Following her game-tying triple, Blair Schaefer was back in the groove. She went 4-8 from beyond the arc with 12 points and three assists. Schaefer found her shot and looked more than confident. After the first one went down, the tone was set for Mississippi State.
While she was not afraid to spot up from anywhere, Schaefer also showed up on defense. She may not always put up mind blowing stats, but make no mistake that Schaefer will take on any defensive assignment. Her willingness to do whatever it takes lifts teammates, and it brought the Bulldogs back to their identity following her first three-pointer.
Roshunda Johnson has proven to be a consistent force on both ends of the floor, as she also had a day. Her and Schaefer have become a formidable one-two punch from three. Johnson was a perfect 3-3 from outside, with 15 points, two rebounds, and three assists. With both senior starters having brought out the best in one another all season, it will only continue going forward.
Johnson has developed into a star and will further make her name throughout March. The Oklahoma State transfer has also become a vocal leader. Like Schaefer, Johnson’s toughness is there, regardless of what her stat line reads.
Chloe Bibby added 10 points, two rebounds, an assist, and a steal off the bench. She has come into her own and was a nightmare for Wildcats’ coach Matthew Mitchell. Bibby has played a much bigger role as of late, and that will only increase following today’s outing.
Last but not least, Victoria Vivians was every adjective in the book when describing a superstar. She had a double-double herself with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Vivians added five assists and a steal.
It is safe to say that she is the best in the country. Vivians knows the ultimate goal and will not settle for a perfect season or SEC title. There is simply a different look in her eye. Her season was one of the best in history, and will turn to a tournament for the ages.
A perfect season is always nice, but this team is well aware of the journey ahead. However, 30-0 is something to celebrate. Mississippi State is a force to be reckoned with, and though they were heavily tested, the Bulldogs knew when to show up in the end.