With three of its five starters scoring in double digits, Mississippi State had itself a day at LSU. Teaira McCowan, Jordan Danberry, and Andra Espinoza-Hunter combined for a total of 41 of the Bulldogs’ 68 points. While all three were scoring threats, it was defense that ruled Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The team combined for a total of 32 defensive rebounds, led by McCowan’s 17, as head coach Vic Schaefer’s defense first mentality was on full display.
McCowan, along with Anriel Howard also combined for five blocked shots. The two have been a formidable duo throughout the season and continue to gel. While Howard had six points, her defense has improved steadily. All six of her rebounds were on the defensive end, as she is not afraid to get down low and fight for the ball.
Point guard Jazzmun Holmes posted eight points, five assists, and a steal, proving yet again that she has become an all-round player. In addition, she had no turnovers. Holmes has had 24 turnovers on the year but seems to have addressed that issue. Look for Schaefer to rely on her in big moments going forward.
While Mississippi State recorded seven blocks and six steals as a group, the Bulldogs also forced 18 total turnovers, a number that should increase throughout the rest of conference play and beyond. Having said that, the Bulldogs must improve for the line, as they shot 66.7 percent. Mississippi State also shot 35.3 percent from distance, another number that should increase. The Bulldogs went 25-59 from the field, but that should be an aberration, as the maroon and white usually shoot better than 42.4 percent.
This year’s squad continues to develop into a well rounded group who has something to prove in all aspects of their game. Whether it be the offense or defensive side of the ball, they show up. The knock on State this season has been getting off to slow starts. But last night showed the Bulldogs’ capability of getting off to blazing starts, as they took over from opening tip and kept their foot down until the clock hit triple zeros.
Expect Mississippi State to use last night’s game as motivation going into Tuscaloosa on Sunday and further on. The ceiling is sky high for this group, as this season is theirs to lose. Atop the SEC and ranked in the top 10, their is a reason why, and the Bulldogs continue to dominate.
Mississippi State travels to Alabama to face the Crimson Tide this Sunday at 12:00 PM.