The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

No. 14 Bulldogs best Rebels after tough loss

Courtesy photo|

Victoria Vivians rebounded from an uncharacteristic performance against Kentucky to score 22 points and 10 rebounds in a 60-51 victory over Ole Miss Sunday .

After a surprising 83-60 blowout loss to the Kentucky Wildcats, the No. 14 Mississippi State Bulldogs won an important game to heighten their chances of participating in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Led by a solid effort from standout sophomore Victoria Vivians, the Bulldogs defeated in-state rival Ole Miss 60-51 Sunday.

The victory brings the Bulldogs’ overall record to 22-6. MSU also improved to 9-5 in league play which is good for third place in the Southeastern Conference.

 For this game, the Bulldogs regular offensive scheme deemed successful to lead to a victory over the arch rivals. 

To start the first quarter, the Bulldogs came in looking to set the tone with an undeniable offense. They went on a 15-2 run in the first seven minutes. The Bulldogs led the Rebels 19-9 going into the second quarter. Most of the 19 points were earned in the paint by Chinwe Okorie and Victoria Vivians. 

During the second quarter, Dominique Dillingham’s presence was strong on defense. With  clutch offensive and defensive rebounds, Dillingham helped keep the ball away from Ole Miss.

 In the sixth minute, Shequila Jones broke the Rebel’s three minute scoring drought with a three-point shot. Ole Miss then collected four quick points to bring the score to 16-21 before Morgan William shot a layup to get to a comfortable seven point lead. In the last two minutes of the first half, The Rebels’ missed shots and the Bulldogs strong effort earned Mississippi State a ten-point lead as they entered the second half. 

In the second half the Bulldogs brought the same defensive intensity as the team began the half with Chinwe Okorie blocking, rebounding and creating turnovers her teammates could capitalize on. Okorie scored the first basket of the half but Teaira McGowan took over for her near the halfway mark of the third quarter due to foul trouble. McGowan did not let up in Okorie’s stead, as she tallied three blocks, three rebounds and four points. Dominique Dillingham also did not stop her aggressive defense. The Bulldogs found a successful rhythm that put the Rebels at a standstill in the Pavilion and closed  the third period with an eleven point lead. 

The Rebels fought an  uphill battle to close the  gap to five in the final quarter. As the Rebels began their attempt, Victoria Vivians dominated on both sides of the ball. Before fouling out, Vivians collected a tremendous 22 points and 10 rebounds. 

Morgan William also contributed with ten points. The Rebels fought valiantly to trim the defecit as time expired but the overpowering Bulldogs proved too much for them to handle. Coming off of a devastating loss at home, Mississippi State reminded everyone of their presence with this crucial conference win late in the season. Vic Schaefer said he was ecstatic about how the team bounced back after the tough conference loss. “We had a bad game Thursday and I am really proud of how the girls responded,” Vic Schaefer said.“We talked about the season being a book. Today was our chance to write a much better chapter in the book.”

 He also applauded the reaction Vivians gave to the defense Ole Miss Head Coach Matthew Insell built against her. 

“Matt (Insell) has done a great job at ole Miss. They threw a box-in-one on her in the game. I’m really proud of how she responded. That’s what great players do.”

Vivians and the Bulldogs will now head to Nashville to face Vanderbilt. Tipoff for the contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday.

After that, the Bulldogs will close the season at home against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. 

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
No. 14 Bulldogs best Rebels after tough loss