RUSTON, La. – No. 9 Mississippi State’s best shooting performance of the season led to an easy road win Sunday afternoon. Behind a season-high 36 points from sophomore Victoria Vivians, the Bulldogs were hitting all over in a 93-63 win over Louisiana Tech Sunday afternoon at the Thomas Assembly Center.
Vivians scored 28 of those points in the first half as MSU handed Louisiana Tech its second-largest home loss in a Thomas Assembly Center that has proven to be one of the nation’s toughest venues.
“I am really proud of how hard we played defensively in the first half,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “I was proud of the offensive execution. Obviously, (Vivians) was on fire. She had 28 at the half and had some really clean looks.
“Our half-court defense was great. The press was really good. The first half was the best we have played in a long, long time. Louisiana Tech is not that bad. Their youth really showed in the contest.”
MSU (7-1) bounced back from a week off for exams to shoot 52.9 percent from the floor, including a blistering 62.9 percent from the floor in the opening half.
The Bulldogs picked up their first true road win of the season and will now carry the momentum forward into Wednesday’s night matchup with in-state rival Southern Mississippi.
“This was a great win,” Vivians said. “They came out with a 9-0 run there to start the game. We just had to make some shots and get settled down. This felt like my high school gym. Coach told us they would be amped up, and they came out with juice. We showed our maturity to battle through it. We got some defensive stops and got things going on offense.”
Louisiana Tech (4-5) actually built the early 9-0 lead as the Maroon and White went better than three minutes without scoring. State caught up quickly, though, scoring the next 19 points of the game.
A 3-pointer by VIvians gave MSU an 11-9 lead. Morgan William then scored three of her team’s next four baskets to cap the run.
Another trey by Vivians ran out the first quarter with the guests leading 24-11.
With an offensive rhythm now firmly established, the Bulldogs kept attacking.
Back-to-back baskets by Jazzmun Holmes and Vivians started the second quarter and pushed the lead to 29-11. A 10-1 run late in the half ran the lead to 28 at 49-21. The Bulldogs led 53-25 at the halftime.
The Bulldogs would lead by as many as 48 twice in the second half. A 19-2 run opened a 76-30 advantage with 4:08 left in the third quarter. The Lady Techsters pieced together a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter to close the final margin.
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 37 of 70 shots from the field (52.9 percent), 10 of 26 shots from 3-point range (38.5 percent) and 9 of 12 shots from the foul line (75.0 percent). The Lady Techsters hit 21 of 59 shots from the field (35.6 percent), 4 of 7 shots from 3-point range (57.1 percent) and 17 of 19 shots from the foul line (89.5 percent).
The teams were even at 37 in rebounds. MSU had 24 assists and 16 turnovers, while Louisiana Tech had eight assists and 24 turnovers. The Bulldogs scored 32 points off turnovers.
Vivians finished 13 of 23 from the field for the fifth-highest point total by a sophomore in MSU history. Breanna Richardson and William each added 12 points. Vivians had a team-high seven rebounds, while William had eight assists, her second-best total this season.
Louisiana Tech received 25 points from Brandi Wingate.
MSU and USM tip at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Humphrey Coliseum. The game will be available nationally on SEC Network +.