Following a devastating home loss to Missouri, Mississippi State was out to make amends, and emphatically did so in College Station. Led by four starters scoring in double figures, the Bulldogs made sure that the nation knew the real Mississippi State. Anriel Howard, Teaira McCowan, Jordan Danberry, and Andra Espinoza-Hunter combined for 71 of the Bulldogs’ 92 points. But this was Howard’s stage, as her return went as planned.
Howard posted a double double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. She made sure to take advantage of the spotlight. Howard’s leadership combined with her knowledge of the game shined, as Mississippi State fed off her high energy.
She has been consistent all season long. Consistency is key and Howard knows it. Going forward, expect her to continue to be one of the main focal points of the offense and a force defensively.
As she is averaging 15.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, Howard may just average a double double sooner rather than later, given head coach Vic Schaefer’s heavy reliance on her in big moments. Comparable to former superstar Bulldog Victoria Vivians, Howard is a versatile weapon who can be counted on at any point. A primary face of the team, look for Howard to continue putting up double digits.
Teaira McCowan showed up but the numbers were not nearly what she is capable of. Having said that, 12 points and 10 boards is pretty good for most in the game, ultimately speaking to McCowan’s greatness. Though she has taken a bit of a dip, McCowan still showed up when it counted.
Jordan Danberry quickly returned to form, filling the stat line with 16 points, two rebounds, four assists, and four steals. Like Howard, Danberry is versatile and can change a game on either side of the floor. However, Danberry did have four fouls. She usually stays out of foul trouble, as that should not be a problem next Thursday in Oxford.
But the surprise of the game, and season for that matter has been the emergence of Andra Espinoza-Hunter. The UCONN transfer led the team with 24 points. She also went 7-11 from beyond the arc. Though the sophomore guard is averaging eight points on the year, her numbers have and should continue to increase steadily.
Hunter can shoot the lights out when on point and is finding her way as a starter. A three point sniper, Hunter will be a key reason for Mississippi State’s run. If she can continue this scoring streak, the Bulldogs could be deadly along the perimeter.
All in all, this game was a reminder and statement to the country. The Bulldogs seem to be back on track and know what’s ahead.
Mississippi State travels to Oxford next Thursday to take on arch rival Ole Miss at 7:00 PM.