McCowan leads No. 6 Mississippi St. past Virginia 72-44
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Teaira McCowan had 12 points and 12 rebounds and No. 6 Mississippi State spoiled Tina Thompson’s debut as Virginia’s coach with a 72-44 victory Friday night.
Chloe Bibby added 13 points in the first half for the Bulldogs (2-0), who have played in the national championship game each of the past two seasons. They came out like they have designs on doing it again, scoring 18 of the game’s first 20 points, leading 45-17 by halftime and forcing 17 first-half turnovers.
Dominique Toussaint led Virginia (0-1) with 19 points. The Cavaliers were 4 for 15 from the field in the first quarter with eight turnovers, then 2 for 16 with nine turnovers in the second quarter. They outscored the Bulldogs 18-10 in the third quarter, exceeding their point total of the entire first half, but never got close.
The Bulldogs also got 13 points from Andra Espinoza-Hunter. Mississippi State scored the first 11 points of the game and had a 16-0 run to open the second quarter that gave them a 42-13 lead. Their six 3-pointers in the first half matched Virginia’s total number of field goals in the half.
Mississippi St.: The Bulldogs last year became the first SEC team to go unbeaten in the regular season and they look poised to be dominant again behind All-American center Teaira McCowan, but it might be until they play at Texas on Dec. 2 that an opponent really puts them to the test.
Virginia: Thompson, hired when Joanne Boyle retired to attend to a family matter, pledged that the Cavaliers would be more offensive minded this season while continuing to make defense a priority, but they came up short on both counts against the taller, more talented Bulldogs. They also missed several shots from in close, a carry-over-from-last-year tendency that Thompson and her coaching staff have addressed extensively.
Mississippi State: Home against Lamar next Thursday.
Virginia: On the road at Kentucky next Thursday.
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