STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Teaira McCowan and the Mississippi State Bulldogs overwhelmed an opponent for the second straight game, jumping out to a huge first quarter.
The sixth-ranked Bulldogs (4-0) used a 41-point first period to put Coppin State away swiftly and Mississippi State put seven players in double figures in the 110-38 victory Sunday.
The Bulldogs looked every part the team that had gone to two straight NCAA championship games. Coach Vic Schaefer rounded up his team shortly after the second Final Four banner was raised to the rafters and spoke to them about what it represented and the new standard in place in Starkville. They responded by forcing 31 turnovers and turning those into 50 points in the win.
It was a defensive performance that the coach said was closer to his standards than recent games.
“We were talking in pregame about the standard and I was really proud of how we came out and started the game. We’re looking for that consistency right now and we haven’t had it,” Schaefer said. “I was pleased with our energy level.”
McCowan had 23 points, six rebounds and five blocks in 19 minutes. Her backup, freshman Jessika Carter, added 16 points, eight rebounds and five blocks.
The Bulldogs didn’t surrender a field goal in the game until 8:08 in the second quarter as they led 64-16 at the half. The 41 points scored in the opening frame were second most in school history just shy of last week’s 42 scored against Lamar in the third quarter.
“It’s all in the mindset,” McCowan said. “What we do here is play hard and work hard. If you’re supposed to beat a team by 60, you go out and do that.”
Chance Graham was high scorer for the Eagles (0-4) with 16 points and had a double-double with 10 rebounds.
It was the 40th straight non-conference win for the Bulldogs and 23rd consecutive home win.
Anriel Howard had 15 points and eight rebounds for MSU and they had 16 points from Andra Espinoza Hunter. Chloe Bibby finished with 11 points, Jordan Danberry and Bre’Amber Scott had 10 points each.
“I think we’ve worked hard at putting our head down and running,” Schaefer said. “If you can play defense and get a stop and a rebound, we’ve got a chance to get out and run. Our point guards are really good pushing it.”
Mississippi State shot 63 percent in the game and allowed the Eagles to make just 20 percent of their shots. The Bulldogs also had a 68-10 advantage in the paint.
Coppin State: There weren’t many positives for the Eagles as they took another blowout on the chin.
Mississippi State: Likewise, the competition for the Bulldogs didn’t lend to any conclusions being made early in the season. They did come out and handle their business swiftly and with force as a top 10 team should.