No. 2 Mississippi State routs Kentucky 85-63
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Teaira McCowan had 20 points and 20 rebounds to match a career high, Victoria Vivians added 18 points and No. 2 Mississippi State routed Kentucky 85-63 on Sunday and become the first Southeastern Conference team to finish the regular season unbeaten in 20 years.
The Bulldogs (30-0, 16-0 SEC) matched Tennessee’s milestone in 1997-98 after erasing a 9-3 deficit with a 14-4 run led by 3-point shooting. The 6-foot-7 McCowan then took control inside on both ends of the floor before Vivians warmed up offensively.
McCowan did most of her damage in the first half with 17 points and 13 rebounds on the way to helping the Bulldogs dominate the boards 40-23 and paint scoring 38-20. MSU also finished 10 of 18 from behind the arc, with Blair Schaefer making four for 12 points.
Maci Morris scored 16 of her 22 points in the first half for the Wildcats (14-16, 6-10), who had won two of three coming in. Kentucky’s losing mark in conference play was its first since 2008-09, coach Matthew Mitchell’s second season with the program.
Mississippi State: The top-seeded Bulldogs now look forward to a double bye in the SEC Tournament after a strong finish to their regular-season finale. It took a few minutes to get going and they never stopped after getting the lead, using a potent outside-inside mix to earn their sixth consecutive win by at least 19 points.
Kentucky: The rebuilding Wildcats now look to the SEC Tournament to possibly pick up some wins and avoid the first losing season in Mitchell’s 11 seasons. Their quest of a .500 regular season and pulling off an upset started well with good shots and tough defense. But they couldn’t stop McCowan inside, a mission that became harder when senior forward Alyssa Rice (3 rebounds, 2 points) picked up her third foul early in the second quarter.
Mississippi State: Plays in Friday’s quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament in Nashville.
Kentucky: Plays in Thursday’s second round of the SEC Tournament.
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