Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page
Vivians Leads No. 13/14 Bulldogs To Season Sweep Of Rebels
With two games left in the regular season, MSU improved to 22-6 overall and 9-5 in league play – good for third place in the conference. Ole Miss fell to 10-17 and 2-12. Coupled with a 78-50 win from earlier in the season, MSU won its fifth straight in the series and its 11th in the last 13 games. State completed a two-game regular-season sweep for a second straight season and sixth time going back to 2009. “We had a bad game Thursday and I am really proud of how the girls responded,” said MSU head coach Vic Schaefer, who is 6-2 against Ole Miss. “We talked about the season being a book. Thursday’s chapter wasn’t very good. Today was our chance to write a much better chapter in our book. “The competition in this league is a nightmare. Matt (Insell) has done a great job (at Ole Miss). They threw a box-in-one on (Vivians). I am really proud at how she responded. She is a player. That’s what great players do. They keep after it.” Victoria Vivians led the offensive attack for the Bulldogs with 22 points, her most since the Bulldogs’ Jan. 7 win against Auburn. Dominique Dillingham added 12 points and Morgan William added 10 points. Vivians also pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season and the sixth of her young career. When the Bulldogs need a momentum lift, they turn to their defense. Sunday proved no exception. With Ole Miss holding a 7-4 lead, MSU put together a 15-2 run to end the first quarter of play. Ole Miss was held to one field goal over the final 6:54 of the opening quarter. A jumper by Dillingham gave the Bulldogs the lead for good at 8-7. Chinwe Okorie highlighted the run with four straight points, and a basket by Vivians gave the Bulldogs a 19-7 lead late in the first quarter. Dillingham pushed the lead to 12 at 21-9 with a basket to start the second period. Ole Miss scored the next seven points to close within 21-16. Still, back-to-back baskets by Vivians and a layup by William later capped a 6-0 run for a 29-18 lead. MSU led 30-20 at halftime. Ole Miss started the second half strong and closed the deficit to five three times. However, the Bulldogs always had an answer. Vivians capped a 7-0 run as the Bulldogs pushed the lead to 43-31 with 2:00 left in the third quarter. Ole Miss cut MSU’s lead to five at 45-40 with 8:37 to play, but Vivians answered with a jumper and a 3-pointer off the glass to extend the Bulldog lead back to 10 at 50-40. Dillingham followed with another bucket to help the Maroon and White to a 52-40 lead with 6:02 left to play. Ole Miss scored seven straight to pull within 52-47 with 3:37 left, but the Bulldogs, playing in front of a large Maroon and White contingent, followed with five consecutive points from Vivians and a free throw from Dillingham to put the lead back to 11 with just under two minutes to play. “Really proud of the fans,” Schaefer said. “One guy told me that he hadn’t been here in 40 years. It is what we have going here with Mississippi State women’s basketball. We played in a tough place to play against a tough team, and I am really proud of this team.” For the contest, MSU hit 24 of 47 shots from the field (51.1 percent), 1 of 4 shots from 3-point range (25.0 percent) and 11 of 18 shots from the foul line (61.1 percent). Ole Miss hit 15 of 57 shots from the field (26.3 percent), 3 of 14 shots from 3-point range (21.4 percent) and 18 of 22 shots from the foul line (81.8 percent). MSU held a 37-31 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 12 assists and 15 turnovers, while the Rebels had nine assists and 11 turnovers. Ole Miss received 14 points from Madinah Muhammad. A’Queen Hayes had a team-high seven rebounds. MSU will host its final Hail State Hoops Luncheon of the regular season on Monday at 11:30 a.m. in Mize Pavilion. Cost is $12, and fans can RSVP by phone (662.325.0198) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). State plays its final regular season road game Thursday at Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs and Commodores tip at 7 p.m. from Nashville, Tennessee, as part of the league’s final SEC Network whip around coverage. Thursday’s game will be shown in its entirety online and via the WatchESPN app on SEC Network +. The SEC Network will bounce coverage to the various games on the schedule. MSU will close its regular season by playing host to Alabama at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
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