STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI / Miss. St. Athletics) – Mississippi State celebrated its return to postseason play with a 110-69 win over Troy in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament’s Oklahoma City Regional played before a crowd of 5,572 in Humphrey Coliseum.
No. 2 seed MSU (30-4) will face No. 7 seed DePaul (27-7) for the right to advance to the Sweet 16 Sunday at Humphrey Coliseum. Game time and television assignment is expected at a later time on Friday.
The Bulldogs won their opening-round NCAA tournament game for the eighth-straight time, while improving their school record for victories by becoming the first MSU women’s team to win 30 games in a season.
“Really proud of my team and my university today,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “We had 5,500 on a Friday afternoon and that is pretty dog-gone special. The electricity in that building makes it special. It starts with the university, the administration, the fans. Our basketball team was really good today.”
The victory over Troy gave Schaefer his 200th career victory as an NCAA head basketball coach.
It is the first time that MSU topped 100 points in an NCAA tournament game, and its 41-point win is its largest in an NCAA tournament contest. The Bulldogs finished with 57 bench points. MSU had a new season-high with 54.5 percent 3-point showing and 12 makes from there.
State tied a school NCAA Tournament best with its 12 made 3-pointers.
The Bulldogs placed five players in double figures. Blair Schaefer led the way with a career-best 21 points. Ameshya Williams added a personal-high 15 points, while Roshunda Johnson and Victoria Vivians each added 13 points and Breanna Richardson tallied 10 points.
Teaira McCowan had 13 rebounds as the Bulldogs collected a season- and NCAA Tournament-high 61 rebounds.
“Teaira earned that start today,” Schaefer said. “She has been great in practice. Roshunda and Blair brought so much energy. We have our work cut out for us on Sunday, but we certainly got the tournament off to a good start.”
The Bulldogs started strong with Blair Schaefer scoring the first 11 points for her team. The Bulldogs were on fire early and quickly built a 12-4 lead.
The Bulldogs held the lead throughout and led 27-21 after one quarter of play.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs continued to score and improved on the defensive end. The Trojans were held to six points in the second quarter as the Maroon and White kept expanding the lead.
The Bulldogs blew the contest open with an 18-0 run for a 53-26 lead. Troy (22-11) was held without a field goal over the final 6:53 of the first half.
MSU hit eight first-half 3-pointers and led 56-27 at halftime.
In the second half, Ameysha Williams left her mark with 15 points and five rebounds in nine minutes of play. A 10-2 run helped the Bulldogs push the lead to 71-36 with 4:39 left.
A 3-point play by Williams allowed the Bulldogs to hit the century mark for the third time this season with 3:31 left.
For the contest, MSU hit 36 of 82 shots from the field (43.9 percent), 12 of 22 shots from 3-point range (54.5 percent) and 26 of 39 shots from the foul line (66.7 percent). Troy hit 25 of 80 shots from the field (31.1 percent), 5 of 31 shots from 3-point range (16.1 percent) and 14 of 20 shots from the foul line (70. 0 percent).
MSU held a 61-48 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 22 assists and 21 turnovers, while the Trojans had 16 assists and 28 turnovers.