Mississippi State was deemed a No. 1 seed and they showed why and then some. It was clear that coach Vic Schaefer put his team to work following the Bulldogs’ SEC tournament loss to South Carolina. It was a complete effort, as everyone made the most of their minutes.
It was no nonsense from the opening tap, as Mississippi State jumped out of the gates early. They were tough on both ends of the floor and had no mercy. With Humphrey Coliseum in full force, the Bulldogs treated fans to an offensive spectacle.
Victoria Vivians led the team in scoring with 20 points. She added 13 rebounds for a double-double, along with an assist and two steals. Vivians was able to create her own shot at will, ultimately picking the Colonels apart.
Vivians is by far and away the game’s best player. She is a flat out superstar and has improved on both ends of the floor. Vivians’ coaches and teammates have full trust in her, as she is more than ready to take over the national stage throughout this tournament.
Nicholls State had absolutely no answer for Teaira McCowan, plain and simple. She was a dominant force all night long, as McCowan posted another double-double. Her 18 points and 13 rebounds came with ease, as she has matured significantly on and off the court.
If able to keep this up, Mississippi State could end up being a lock for the Final Four. McCowan’s presence in the paint is flat out special, and it will take everything for the opposition to get in her way. When she’s fired up, the Bulldogs are virtually unstoppable, as that mindset is sure to continue on a game by game basis.
Perhaps the brightest sign for Mississippi State going forward is Blair Schaefer returning to form. With all the confidence in the world, Blair was unconscious from beyond the arc. Her 18 points, three of which were threes, ignited the Bulldogs.
When her shot is falling from three, look out, and the Colonels got their first look at one of the game’s best from distance. Whether it was a three-pointer, layup, or a trip to the line, Blair was on fire. Mississippi State plays harder and better with her on the floor, as her leadership has lifted the Bulldogs time and time again.
Morgan William and Roshunda Johnson were defensive terrors, as both kept the Colonels in check. The two combined for 15 points, and “itty bitty” added two blocks. Yes, William had not one, but two blocked shots. Johnson was all over the floor, as she took on any matchup assigned.
As mentioned above, it was a complete effort. The bench was on point and combined for 24 points. Everyone looked comfortable and had their way. If the bench keeps this up, the Bulldogs could be the nation’s most dangerous team.
Overall, those in and around the game are well aware of the Bulldogs’ mindset. Mississippi State is on a mission and made it known tonight. They’re not afraid of anything or anybody, and will play until the clock hits triple zeros. There is something about this year’s squad, and whatever that is has and will continue to work wonders.