Mississippi State flushes Florida

Published 8:54 pm Thursday, February 8, 2018

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Roshunda Johnson scored 22 points, Teaira McCowan notched her 17th double-double of the season, and No. 2 Mississippi State stayed undefeated with a 98-50 victory at Florida on Thursday night.

The Bulldogs (25-0, 11-0 Southeastern Conference) never trailed, hitting three 3-pointers to open the game and doubling up Florida on the scoreboard by the end of the third quarter.

“Really proud of our kids, especially in the second half,” Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said. “After having a bad second quarter, we came out and had a great third quarter. We outscored them 30-7 in the third quarter and 26-14 in the fourth quarter, so that’s 56 points in the second half. That is a great half of offensive execution.”

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Victoria Vivians added 17 points for Mississippi State, and Morgan William chipped in 15.

McCowan finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, reaching double figures in both categories for the 13th time in the last 17 games.

It was the latest dominating performance for the Bulldogs, who were coming off a 14-point victory against South Carolina in a rematch of last year’s national championship game. The Bulldogs lost the title game and look more than capable of getting another shot with a veteran team.

Schaefer has a stacked starting lineup that can play with — and beat — anyone in the country.

Florida (10-14, 2-9) is clearly a long ways away. The Gators kept it close early, but faded late in the second quarter. Mississippi State used a staggering, 34-5 run to turn a three-point game into a laugher.

“We had the nice run there to end the second quarter and then were able to extend on that there in the third quarter,” Schaefer said.

The Bulldogs did whatever they wanted during the spurt, getting easy baskets off turnovers and finding players wide open for 3s. They hit 10 of 20 from behind the arc.

Funda Nakkasoglu led the Gators with 17 points, but also had six of the team’s 23 turnovers.

Mississippi State held a 38-25 rebounding advantage and scored 52 points in the paint.

Florida had 23 turnovers that led to 37 points for MSU. The Gators only scored three points off of Mississippi State’s 12 turnovers.