Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

No. 4 Mississippi State survives at Arkansas to improve to 16-0

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - A pair of 3-point baskets by Blair Schaefer were huge as the No. 4 Mississippi State women's basketball team held off Arkansas 59-51 in Southeastern Conference action Thursday night at Bud Walton Arena. (Article Source: MSU Athletics Media Relations)

MSU improved to 16-0 overall and 2-0 in conference play, while Arkansas fell to 11-4 and 0-2. The Bulldogs are two wins away from matching the school record for victories to start a season.

The Bulldogs also beat the Razorbacks for a sixth straight time to even the all-time series at 18 wins apiece.

"You have to commend Arkansas," MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. "They came in the second half and played very well and defended us very well. We were really bad offensively tonight. We need to give credit to Arkansas for that. It's hard to believe we held them to 29 percent shooting and it was a nail-biter.

"If the Schaefer kid is not on the bus, we don't win that game. She made some really good plays when we had to have them, both offensively and defensively. We had not been practicing well. Some of the kids are feeling the number (no losses). We had some players that were tight tonight."

The Bulldogs placed three players in double figures. Morgan William led the way with 15 points, while Chinwe Okorie added 14 points and Victoria Vivians added 13 points. Okorie also had a career-high 15 rebounds for her second double-double of the season.

MSU only hit two 3-point baskets in the second half - each came from Schaefer and both were critical. She also drew a couple of charges on the defensive end.

Behind the strong inside play of Okorie, the Bulldogs started well on both ends of the floor. Okorie scored six straight points to give her team a 10-3 lead. William then capped an 8-0 run with a basket for an 18-7 lead.

MSU led 18-11 after one quarter.

In the second quarter, the Razorbacks closed within four twice before a quarter-ending 7-0 run by the Bulldogs.

In the opening half, the Bulldogs shot 47.4 percent from the field and led 35-22 at halftime.

A 10-2 run by the Razorbacks put the Hogs back in business midway through the third quarter. The hosts were within 38-34 with 5:42 left in the quarter.

MSU eased into the final quarter with a 45-39 lead.

Schaefer then opened the fourth quarter with a trey for a 48-39 lead. Her next three came with 5:18 left and help push the lead to 51-45. Arkansas was held without a field goal over the final 4:59 of play.

For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 23 of 63 shots from the field (36.5 percent), 2 of 11 shots from 3-point range (18.2 percent) and 11 of 16 shots from the foul line (68.8 percent). The Razorbacks hit 16 of 54 shots from the field (29.6 percent), 3 of 13 shots from 3-point range (23.1 percent) and 16 of 23 shots from the foul line (69.6 percent).

MSU held a 50-34 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 12 assists and 18 turnovers, while the Razorbacks had six assists and 17 turnovers.

Arkansas received 17 points from Malica Monk and 12 points from Jessica Jackson.


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