Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Strong finish leads Number 4 Mississippi State to 10th road win

AUBURN, Ala. - Mississippi State won its 10th road game of the season with a 77-47 victory versus Auburn in Southeastern Conference women's basketball action Thursday night at Auburn Arena.

MSU stayed a half-game back from the conference lead by moving to 22-1 overall and 8-1 in league play. Auburn fell to 15-8 and 5-4. It was State's fourth-straight win the series and the largest margin of victory in six total wins on the Plains.

Victoria Vivians led the Bulldogs with 17 points, while Chinwe Okorie added 16 points and Teaira McCowan added 15 points. Vivians and Okorie each had a team-high six rebounds. William had a team-high six assists.

"We give God the glory for victory No. 22," MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. "This is a special group. Really proud of our response after Auburn made a run. That was a good basketball game. Auburn's press is outstanding. You have to attack pressure with pressure. We knew we had to take care of the basketball.

"Our group did a good job of finding (Okorie and McCowan). Victoria made some big shots (during the game-ending run)."

The Bulldogs started quickly on the defensive end and sprinted out to a 12-4 advantage. The lead grew to 13 at 19-6 after a pair of Dominique Dillingham free throws. The Bulldogs then got a basket from Blair Schaefer as the first quarter expired for a 26-9 lead.

A 3-pointer by Vivians pushed the lead to 32-11 with 8:19 left in the half. Auburn followed with the game's next six points as MSU was held better than five minutes without a basket. A 3-pointer by Roshunda Johnson ran the lead to 39-24 at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Bulldogs again struggled offensively and the Tigers crawled back into the contest. A 9-2 run brought the hosts back within 48-42. Morgan William then hit a critical 3-point basket to thwart the rally and push the lead back to double digits.

MSU held Auburn to five points over the final quarter and ended the game on a 29-5 run.

For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 28 of 56 shots from the field (50.0 percent), 9 of 20 shots from 3-point range (45.0 percent) and 12 of 17 shots from the foul line (70.6 percent). The Tigers hit 18 of 51 shots from the field (35.3 percent), 3 of 13 shots from 3-point range (23.1 percent) and 8 of 12 shots from the foul line (66.7 percent).

MSU held a 39-22 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 20 assists and 16 turnovers, while the Tigers had nine assists and 14 turnovers.

Auburn received 17 points from Brandy Montgomery and 13 points from Katie Frerking.

MSU returns to the Humphrey Coliseum for a Sunday contest with Missouri. The Bulldogs and Tigers tip at 1:30 p.m. on ESPNU.


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