In a game that swung back and forth all night, #2 ranked Mississippi State (24-0 overall, 10-0 SEC) overcame Dawn Staley and her vaunted #7 South Carolina Gamecocks (18-5 overall, 7-3 SEC). Vic Schaefer’s Bulldogs earned a hard fought 14 point victory tonight by a score of 67 to 53.
It wasn’t all that decisive for most of the game, however. Things looked rather bleak in the first quarter as the Bulldogs trailed 20-10. The tide shifted a bit and turned in MSU’s favor in the second quarter, however. The Bulldogs would go on to outscore their opponent 19-8 in the second to bring up a 29-28 halftime lead for Mississippi State.
While the rest of their teammates struggled to score early, Victoria Vivians and A’Ja Wilson took control of the game and led their teams. At the half, two of the best in the NCAA performed to the top of their abilities as Vivians and Wilson scored 20 and 18 points respectively.
In the second half, the third quarter appeared to be quite similar to the first. South Carolina took over and outscored State to the tune of 16-10 in the quarter to give the Gamecocks a 44 to 39 lead heading into the final frame. However, just as South Carolina owned the first and third quarters, MSU responded and won the second and fourth quarters.
The Bulldogs put up 28 points in the fourth quarter which dwarfed South Carolina’s 9 points in the same stretch. In the fourth quarter, State made 58.3% of their shots, up from 36.7% for the game. The Bulldogs also made 11 of 15 free throws.
In the second half, Blair Schaefer paced all scorers for both teams with 12 points. Teaira McCowan followed just behind with 9 points in the second half, which would be her total for the game. However, even though McCowan only notched 9 points, she totaled a stunning 20 rebounds, giving her the single season rebound record at 318 boards.
All of this was done in front of the largest crowd to ever make its way into Humphrey Coliseum. On a Monday night.
After the game, Vic Schaefer gave this impassioned speech to the fans that remained. Which, to be completely honest, appears to be just about every single one of the 10,794 people that showed up to cheer the Bulldogs on.
The Bulldogs will meet up with the Florida Gators (10-13 overall, 2-8 SEC) in Gainesville on Thursday.