CANCUN, Mexico — With their team struggling in the first half, Victoria Vivians and Teaira McCowan took over.
Vivians scored 23 points while McCowan added 21 points and 10 rebounds to help No. 7 Mississippi State rout Columbia 90-54 on Friday at the Cancun Challenge.
Mississippi State (5-0) only led 22-20 after the first quarter and by eight at the half before blowing the game open in the third quarter.
“Give Columbia credit, they competed in the first quarter,” Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said. “I thought we did that in the second half.”
The Lady Bulldogs were up 50-39 midway through the third period before McCowan and Vivians took control. The 6-foot-7 McCowan scored the first seven points during a 16-4 run and then Vivians made consecutive 3-pointers to give Mississippi State a 66-43 advantage. The lead ballooned to 37 in the fourth quarter.
“The second half was really good,” Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said. “We normally wear people down in the second half and we did that today. We shot it so well in the second half. Teaira had another double-double. We shared the basketball great. Our point-guard play was great again today.”
Camille Zimmerman had 26 points and 12 rebounds to lead Columbia (2-4).
“One player for them was really special for them,” Schaefer said of Zimmerman.
SHE SAID IT:
“They are a top 10 team and to play with them for a half is a great experience for our girls,” Columbia coach Megan Griffith said. “We came to this tournament to be challenged. I’m not scared to play teams. That’s trickling down to our team. (This tournament) will prepare us for our conference.”
Columbia: The Lady Bulldogs were the highest ranked team that Columbia has ever faced. The Lions fell to 0-8 all-time against the Top 25. … It was just Columbia’s second game ever against an SEC school. The team lost to Alabama 81-45 on Nov. 26, 2004. … Zimmerman is the 29th player in Ivy League women’s basketball history to score over 1,500 points.
Mississippi State: The Lady Bulldogs held a 44-35 rebound advantage and shot 47 percent from the field. Mississippi State had 19 assists on its 34 baskets.
Columbia: plays No. 24 Arizona State on Saturday.
Mississippi State: plays Green Bay on Saturday.