STARKVILLE, MS (WLBT) - Teaira McCowan led four Mississippi State players in double figures as the No. 6 Bulldogs knocked off Southeast Missouri State 88-53 in a season-opening women’s basketball game played at Humphrey Coliseum.
The back-to-back national finalists were again led by McCowan, who recorded her 40th career double-double. She had 24 points, 17 rebounds and also added a career-high seven blocked shots.
McCowan, the preseason pick for SEC Player of the Year, notched the 21st game with 20 or more points and the ninth-career contest with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
“It’s always good to start the year with a win,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “We got off to a sluggish start. It took us 10 minutes to get going. Back-to-back 26-point quarters is good. We had 16 points in transition and 38 points in the paint. Our transition is good off misses. We have a long way to go defensively.”
The Bulldogs led 19-12 after one quarter. In the second quarter, a 7-0 run pushed the lead to 30-14. A 3-pointer by Bibby and pair of free throws by Bre’Amber Scott capped the run.
In the first half, the Bulldogs forced 13 turnovers while building a 45-25 halftime lead.
“Our guards played well,” Schaefer said. “Right now, we are just learning how hard you have to play to play here at Mississippi State. Our offense was much better after the slow start. The 15 turnovers is a little too high. On defense, we are fouling too much (20 fouls committed). We have to do better at guarding, without placing our hands on the opposing player.”
The Bulldogs ran the lead to 27 in the early stages of the third quarter at 54-27 after Holmes hit a layup. A 3-pointer by Bibby ran the lead to 60-34. The Bulldogs carried a 71-39 lead into the final quarter of play.
For the contest, MSU hit 29 of 64 shots from the field (45.3 percent), 5 of 14 shots from 3-point range (35.7 percent) and 25 of 38 shots from the foul line (65.8 percent). SEMO hit 17 of 53 shots from the field (32.1 percent), 4 of 9 shots from 3-point range (44.4 percent) and 15 of 22 shots from the foul line (68.2 percent).
MSU held a 56-24 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 18 assists and 15 turnovers, while the Redhawks had five assists and 20 turnovers.
For SEMO, Tesia Thompson had 19 points, while Taelour Pruitt had 15 points.
MSU hits the road for the first time this season with a 6 p.m. CT start Friday at Virginia that will be streamed online and via the WatchESPN app on ACC Network Extra. The Bulldogs return home for a 7 p.m. tip against Lamar on Nov. 15 in the Humphrey Coliseum.