Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

No. 5 Mississippi State gets hard-fought road win to give Vic Schaefer his 100th Bulldog win

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Great teams find a way to win on the road. Victoria Vivians scored 10 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter as No. 5 Mississippi State won a thrilling 58-44 decision at Little Rock Tuesday night. (Article Source: MSU Athletics Media Relations)

The Bulldogs also turned up the defensive intensity in the final period to improve to 10-0 on the season and give Bulldog head coach Vic Schaefer his 100th victory at the MSU helm.

MSU has started a campaign with 10 straight wins for the second time under Vic Schaefer, who became the fastest MSU coach to reach 100 wins at the school.

The Bulldogs won for the ninth time this season away from Humphrey Coliseum, and it did it by holding a sixth opponent this season to 51 or fewer points.

"Give credit to Arkansas-Little Rock," Vic Schaefer said. "They did some things that we weren't accustomed to doing. I didn't think our defensive intensity was great in the first half, but we also only scored 25 points. That wasn't good either.

"In the second half, we played much better defensively. We had more intensity and more focus and that helped us get some things going offensively."

In addition to Vivians' 17 points, Blair Schaefer helped her father reach the milestone by tying her career high with 12 points. Morgan William was also in double figures with 10 points. Teaira McCowan had a team-high five rebounds.

Both teams struggled offensively in a first quarter which ended in an 11-11 tie. The Trojans built a 15-11 lead early in the second quarter, but a basket by William gave the Bulldogs an 18-17 lead.

The lead then changed hands a couple of times before a layup by Chinwe Okorie put State ahead 25-24 at the half.

In the second half, the Bulldogs were even better defensively, forcing the Trojans into 12 of their 21 turnovers in the game. William, Vivians and Schaefer provided enough of an offensive lift for another gritty road win.

A 3-pointer by Schaefer gave the Bulldogs a 32-28 lead with 4:44 left in the third quarter. The Maroon and White carried a 38-34 lead into the final quarter.

The Bulldogs would later use a 9-0 run to build a 54-40 lead with 2:55 to play.

"I'm really proud of Blair for stepping up when we weren't making shots," Vic Schaefer said. "Three-of-three from 3-point range. Defensively, we had several players step up. You have to make plays and you have to turn the other team over some to win on the road."

For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 22 of 44 shots from the field (50.0 percent), 4 of 5 shots from 3-point range (80.0 percent) and 10 of 16 shots from the foul line (62.5 percent). The Trojans hit 19 of 40 shots from the field (47.5 percent), 1 of 4 shots from 3-point range (25.0 percent) and 5 of 8 shots from the foul line (62.5 percent).

MSU held a 27-21 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 14 assists and 13 turnovers, while the Trojans had six assists and 21 turnovers.

Little Rock (5-5) received 18 points from Ronjanae DeGray and 11 points from Sharde' Collins. Kaitlyn Pratt had a team-high six rebounds.

MSU will face Southern Methodist at 10 p.m. CT Friday in the opening round of the Women of Troy Classic in Los Angeles, Calif. The Bulldogs conclude their eight-game road swing by facing either Grambling State or Southern California on Sunday.

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