STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Teaira McCowan has been so productive for so long, it’s almost taken for granted that Mississippi State’s 6-foot-7 star will get a double-double every time she takes the court.
That’s what made the senior’s two-point, six-rebound performance against Florida earlier this week so shocking. Luckily for the Bulldogs, the poor performance appears to be an anomaly.
McCowan scored a season-high 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to push No. 7 Mississippi State past rival Mississippi 80-49 on Sunday.
Even the Ole Miss coach was impressed with the two-time reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Week.
“She is a stud. I love her game. I love what she brings to the table,” Yolett McPhee-McCuin said. “I’m glad she’s a senior.”
Mississippi State’s post presence was a burden for McPhee-McCuin and the Rebels. Senior forward Anriel Howard added 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bulldogs (19-1, 7-0 SEC) had a 42-14 advantage on points in the paint and outrebounded the Rebels 43-27.
“Our inside game was really good with (McCowan). I thought she was strong, physical, and our guards did a great job of getting her the ball,” Schaefer said. “This is a good time of the year to start giving us that.”
For the Rebels (8-13, 2-5), Crystal Allen had 15 points, Shannon Dozier had 13 points and former Mississippi State player La’Karis Salter had 13 in her return to Starkville.
Jordan Danberry added 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Bulldogs. Andra Espinoza-Hunter, who was starting her second straight game after sophomore Chloe Bibby was lost for the season with a knee injury, had 10 points.
Mississippi State jumped out to an 18-10 lead in the first quarter and led 43-22 at the end of the first half after a 14-0 run in the second quarter. McCowan scored 17 points in the first half and Howard added 13.
One of Schaefer’s few concerns was that the Bulldogs hit a lull in the second half, describing his team as “disinterested.” He said that was surprising considering there were more than 10,000 fans in attendance.
“We get disinterested so fast and it’s frustrating for me,” Schaefer said. “You’ve got people up there hanging from the rafters and it’s boring because we’ve lost our intensity. I just want more.”
BULLDOGS CONTINUE STREAKS
With Sunday’s victory, Mississippi State extended several winning streaks.
Mississippi State has won 10 straight games against Ole Miss dating back to 2014. The Bulldogs have also won 23 straight regular-season conference games and 30 straight games at Humphrey Coliseum.
BIG TICKET RETURNS
After transferring from Mississippi State two years ago to Jacksonville, La’Karis Salter followed McPhee-McCuin to Ole Miss and she made her return to Starkville on Sunday.
Salter scored the first five points of the game for the Rebels and finished with 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting and 3 of 6 from 3-point range in 27 minutes. She also had four rebounds.
The Florida native was a part of Schaefer’s first top 25 recruiting class in 2014 that included Victoria Vivians, Blair Schaefer, Morgan William and others.
“I’m really happy for La’Karis. She seems to be happy and she’s a great kid,” Schaefer said.
Ole Miss: The Rebels have had some good moments in McPhee-McCuin’s first season, but they were clearly overmatched against one of the nation’s best teams.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs continued to roll through their SEC schedule in front of 10,337 fans at Humphrey Coliseum. Nobody was really worried about McCowan after the subpar game at Florida, but her bounce back performance is another reminder of how dominant the 6-foot-7 senior can be.
Ole Miss returns home on Thursday to face Auburn.
Mississippi State travels to LSU on Thursday.
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