In a game for the ages, No. 2 Mississippi State was put to the ultimate test, as a 57-53 road win over No. 15 Missouri took anything and everything from the Bulldogs. Highlighted by an epic battle between superstars, Mississippi State’s Victoria Vivians and Missouri’s Sophie Cunningham put on show. It came down to mental toughness between the two, as both came up big within the final ten seconds. Following Cunningham’s three-pointer to tie the game with nine seconds left, Vivians took it upon herself to drain the game winner with four.
She along with Blair Schaefer and Teaira McCowan carried Mississippi State, as the trio combined for 52 points. All three were not afraid of the moment, taking control when given the opportunity. Staying true to their identity, the Bulldogs were relentless on both ends of the floor.
Though Missouri had their way with McCowan early, she was able to bounce back, posting 17 points and 17 rebounds. The Tigers were by far and away the most any team has been able to contain her this season. But it was only a matter of time before she figured out how to take advantage. It is only fitting that McCowan is a finalist for the Lisa Leslie Award, as one of the game’s most dominant players continues to have her way in the paint.
Blair Schaefer added 20 points, a game and season-high, with no turnovers in 36 minutes. With enough time left on the clock for Missouri to make a play, she took a charge to ice it. Mississippi State’s defensive mentality is all about toughness and Schaefer put it on full display.
The game’s best father-daughter continues to shine, leaving it all on the floor with an attitude. Head coach Vic Schaefer has brought out the best in Blair, resulting in leadership and resiliency. They set the tone with an edge, as the Bulldogs are up for any challenge regardless of the circumstances.
It was a hard fought win, but Mississippi State has proven to be more than capable on the road in hostile environments. But next week starts off with an even bigger test.No. 7 South Carolina heads to Starkville Monday night, as Mississippi State now knows what it means to play four quarters.