Mississippi State controlled from start to finish in its 66-44 win over Ole Miss Sunday night.
The Rebels had a hard time shooting in the first half and were outscored 24-4 in the second quarter. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 4, made 23 points off of Ole Miss’ 21 turnovers in the contest.
Mississippi State’s hard defensive press early on allowed them to gain a 23-point lead in the first half against the Ole Miss.
A high-fouling game between both teams, five Rebels had two or more fouls in just the first half and ended the game with 26 fouls versus the Lady Bulldogs 20 fouls. In addition, the Bulldogs out rebounded the Rebels 52-37.
Head coach Matt Insell said he was proud of the effort his players showed the first quarter, yet he felt like they were missing easy shots and lost some aggression unlike their opponent.
“The stats speak for themselves. They just out hustled us. I thought I was going to lose my hair and was so frustrated with them because only one player would go after a lose ball,” Insell said.
Forward Teaira McCowan led MSU and played a total of 31 minutes. Despite the effort to stop the 6-foot-7-inch forward, Ole Miss could not stop her 18 rebounds and 17 points. Insell said he told his girls to limit her space, yet her height dominated.
“They threw it to the corner of the backboard to Teaira and there wasn’t a lot we could do. They put her on the block and she would just tip it in. She could probably start for their men’s team,” Insell said.
While the Rebels had a comeback the third quarter, outscoring MSU 16-12, they were not able to close the gap they had made the first half of the game.
Lead scorers for Ole Miss included guard Erika Sisk with the lead score of 14 points, forward Taylor Manuel and guard Madinah Muhammad.
Despite the loss, the Lady Rebs teamed up with the Baptist Memorial Cancer Center to honor local breast cancer survivors in their ninth annual “Tickled Pink” game. Insell said they had had some breast cancer survivors come in the locker room before the game to discuss energy, enthusiasm and toughness.
Ole Miss’ record is now 15-10, 4-8 in SEC play, and returns to action against Auburn at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Pavilion.
“We got four games left and we will be ready to go next game,” Insell said.