It was a much anticipated semifinal, and this game exceeded expectations, as these two powerhouses gave Nashville a thriller. Mississippi State set the tone on the game’s first basket, a three-pointer from Roshunda Johnson. But Texas A&M came out swinging, as superstar Chennedy Carter answered with a three of her own. The Aggies took control of the first half, until the real tone was set when Jazzmun Holmes found Blair Schaefer for three with 8:25 left in the second quarter.
Mississippi State was tested all game long. Carter was a headache and a half for Head Coach Vic Schaefer, as he and the Bulldogs had to take it up a notch. With 27 points, two rebounds, two assists, and two steals on the night, Carter had her way. However, an individual effort could only take Texas A&M so far, as Mississippi State came together as a team when it mattered most.
Victoria Vivians took over with a purpose. Her 22 points, three rebounds, assist, and steal came with a no nonsense attitude. Vivians knew what time it was and what it took to win. She is a natural student of the game and left it all on the floor tonight.
Vivians is the nation’s best player and showed out yet again. She can score from anywhere with unrivaled range and is a great defender. There was a look in her eye that only so many have in today’s game. Vivians is set on one goal, and she has and will not let anyone or anything get in her way.
Roshunda Johnson is still on a scoring tear, as she posted 13 points. She added four rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Johnson was a force on both ends of the floor and remains on fire as it pertains to all aspects of her game. The bigger the moment, the brighter she shines, and she shined bright all game.
Her presence alone elevates the Bulldogs when in need. She is one half of the SEC’s best three-point shooting tandem, as Johnson and fellow three-point specialist Blair Schaefer combined for 15 points from distance. While the two have proven to be lethal from beyond the arc, Schaefer’s energy and leadership along with Johnson’s versatility on both ends of the floor have become more than dangerous.
Though not a double-double, Tearia McCowan had a game as well. She posted six points, 13 rebounds, an assist, two steals, and four blocks. McCowan has been nothing short of sensational in the paint, as she is only becoming more dominant in this tournament. While points are always nice, her rebounding and defense have been stellar.
McCowan is an integral component and knows when to show up. She has been the nation’s most improved player and is in prime position to take over the tournament. McCowan has been a force inside, and had something to say to the Aggies with each of those four blocks.
Morgan William has elevated her game as a scoring point guard. Her 15 points, two rebounds, five assists, and steal spoke high volumes, as William looked much more confident as a shooter. She was tough defensively and made a statement at Bridgestone Arena.
Jazzmun Holmes was a spark plug on both ends of the floor, with six points, a rebound, three assists, and a steal. Her attitude and energy is always infectious, as it was on full display in Nashville. She is only getting better and emerging as the primary leader of the Bulldogs’ second unit.
It was a hard-fought battle, but Mississippi State made the necessary adjustments. Though exposed in the first quarter, the Bulldogs knew when to step it up. With the tournament championship ahead, Mississippi State has a lot of film to watch. The journey continues, as the Bulldogs roll to 32-0.