Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

McCowan Powers Bulldogs To Another Sweep Of Rebs

OXFORD, Miss. – A dominating second quarter lifted the No. 4/3 Mississippi State women’s basketball team to a 66-44 victory over arch rival Ole Miss in a Southeastern Conference played Sunday at the Pavilion.

In the decisive second quarter, the Bulldogs outscored the Rebels 21-4. Ole Miss was held without a field goal for the final 9:28 of the half. By the time the horn sounded, the Maroon and White had built a commanding 41-18 halftime lead.               

MSU betters its longest win streak in the series by winning its seventh-straight against Ole Miss and its third-straight in Oxford. The Bulldogs have swept the season series from the Rebels three straight seasons. Ole Miss was held to its lowest point total of the season. MSU has held five league opponents to less than 50 points this season.               

It was MSU’s largest margin of victory in Oxford topping a 21-point victory from 2002 and the second-lowest points allowed in the series.               

“Awfully proud of my basketball team today,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “I was proud of the energy and effort, especially there in the second quarter. We won the hustle points, which we take great pride in. That was the difference in the game. In the second quarter, we hit our second wind. We got every loose ball. We got every denial. We got some fast-break points.”               

MSU moved into a two-way tie with South Carolina for first place in the conference standings with four regular-season games remaining. MSU improved to 25-1 overall and 11-1 in league play, while Ole Miss fell to 15-10 and 4-8.          

The Bulldogs matched a school record for conference wins in a season, while improving on their school record for road wins with their 11th victory away from home this season. The 25 overall wins are third most in program history.         

The Bulldogs need one more win to clinch a top four spot in the conference tournament, which begins March 1 in Greenville, South Carolina.               

Sophomore center Teaira McCowan highlighted a dominant afternoon in the paint for the Bulldogs. McCowan clinched her second-double double before halftime and finished with 17 points and 18 rebounds. The 18 rebounds are the most by a Bulldog this season. McCowan also had all three of the team’s blocked shots, moving her into seventh place on the all-time MSU charts.               

Also in double figures were Dominique Dillingham with 12 points and Victoria Vivians with 11 points. Morgan William and Vivians each had five assists. Jazzmun Holmes added a pair of assists and three steals in 34 minutes off the bench.               

“This is an emotional game for a lot of people,” Schaefer said. “For this team, at this time, in our program, this was the next one up. I am proud of our business-like approach and our toughness. Really proud of Teaira (McCowan) and Ketara (Chapel). They came in and gave us some great energy.”               

After both teams played well offensively in the first quarter, the Bulldogs found separation in the second quarter.               

MSU stretched a 9-8 lead with an 8-0 run in the first quarter. However, the Rebels battled back with six straight points to trail 17-14 after one quarter.               

In the second quarter, Vivians rammed a 3-pointer home in the opening seconds. Ole Miss answered on the next possession, before MSU took flight.               

Holmes capped a 10-0 run with a layup to give the guests a 30-17 lead. A maroon-filled visitors section then saw another 10-0 run. Back-to-back baskets by McCowan capped an 11-point, 13-rebound first half for her and gave the Bulldogs a 41-18 lead at the break.               

The Bulldogs kept at least a 17-point lead the entire second half. Continued strong inside play and defensive pressure all over the court kept the Bulldogs in good stead and allowed them to close out the rivalry win.               

For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 25 of 68 shots from the field (36.8 percent), 1 of 15 shots from 3-point range (6.7 percent) and 15 of 23 shots from the foul line (65.2 percent). The Rebels hit 16 of 54 shots from the field (29.6 percent), 1 of 10 shots from 3-point range (10.0 percent) and 11 of 20 shots from the foul line (55.0 percent).               

MSU held a 52-37 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 15 assists and 15 turnovers, while the Rebels had five assists and 21 turnovers.               

Ole Miss placed three players in double figures. Erika Sisk had 14 points, while Taylor Manuel and Madinah Muhammad added 10 points apiece. Shandricka Sessom had nine rebounds for the Rebels.               

MSU will host Georgia 7 p.m. Thursday in Humphrey Coliseum. That contest will be available on SEC Network +.

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