MSU ROCKS Tennessee: Bulldogs win 91-63

Mississippi State's Anriel Howard applauds the situation against Tennessee.

Staff Writer

It was almost as if the Tennessee Lady Volunteers were following the same script as Georgia and South Carolina did before them at Humphrey Coliseum.

No. 6 Mississippi State was in a dog fight as the Lady Vols were shooting lights out and staying in Sunday's game midway through the fourth quarter.

Just as the third quarter followed those scripts, the fourth quarter did as well.

The Bulldogs had a similar result as those first two games as they put their foot on the gas pedal and ran over Tennessee. This game was among the most dominating final quarter of them all, however, as State outscored the Lady Vols by 16 in the fourth on their way to a 91-63 blowout win in front of 10,021 at the Hump.

 “I’m very proud of my team," MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. "They were special (Sunday). Somebody asked me the other day what was the most complete game – that fourth quarter was real good. I don’t know where the game got to where it was.”

The No. 6 Bulldogs (22-1, 10-0 Southeastern Conference) have now won 26 consecutive games in the regular season in SEC play. They’ve also won 32 straight games at the Hump with the last loss coming to Tennessee in 2017, which was the only loss against the Lady Volunteers in the last six tries.

The blowout win didn’t come easy for the Bulldogs who once led by four points midway through the third quarter. They closed the third with a 61-49 lead heading into the fourth and that’s when they would turn it on.

A 13-0 spurt in the first 3 minutes of the final quarter sealed the victory. The Bulldogs scored 30 points in the final 10 minutes and held the Lady Volunteers to 14 points to close the game out.

“We talked going into the fourth quarter we wanted to push that first five minutes (of the fourth quarter)," Schaefer said. "Man, did they push."

It was a 25-17 game after the first quarter and 40-34 at the break as MSU controlled the game outside of Tennessee’s Rennia Davis.

Davis had 29 points on 13-of-22 shooting and scored 18 of those points in the first half.

“Rennia is a great player,” Danberry said. “I tried my best but she had the hot hand. I was in attack mode and she was in attack mode.”

Zaay Green had 13 points for the Lady Vols (15-8, 4-6), who were without leading scorer Evina Westbrook.

Westbrook averaging 16 points a game and 5.1 assists coming into the game but was suspended for a violation of team rules. According to Westbrook in a school statement, she missed a class.

In the meantime, the Bulldogs took advantage. The depth of MSU took a toll as Teaira McCowan had her 58th career double-double and 19th this season with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Danberry was also a problem for the Lady Vols as she had 20 points, four assists and zero turnovers.

Anriel Howard had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Bre’Amber Scott scored 13 points off the bench while Andra Espinoza-Hunter added 11.

The combination of speed and size was a problem for coach Holly Warlick’s Tennessee team all game long. She believes the Bulldogs are as dangerous a team as there is in college basketball.

“When you have a strong inside game and guards that are super quick, it’s a big challenge,” Warlick said. “You can’t make a lot of mistakes. They grind it out, they’re competitors and I don’t see any reason they can’t compete for a championship.”

MSU is back at home on Thursday when they welcome in Missouri for an 8 p.m. matchup on SEC Network.