Monday, February 6, 2017
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — A career game from Mississippi State senior Dominique Dillingham helped the No. 5 Bulldogs continue to stay atop the SEC.
Dillingham scored a career-best 24 points to help the Bulldogs beat Missouri 70-53 on Sunday.
She added three steals and two blocks in 39 minutes.
"On a night where they were really choking us on the inside, we had to have people step up and hit shots," Bulldogs coach Vic Schaefer said. "I asked Dominique if she needed some ice on her elbow and shoulders because she shot 17 shots. We've had a couple of weeks in a row where she hasn't shot it 17 total."
Aside from Dillingham's production, the defense did the job yet again for MSU and their SEC-leading defense. They forced 29 turnovers against the Tigers and held a sharp-shooting Missouri squad to 33-percent shooting with just 15 field goals made in the game.
Looking for separation after a tight first quarter that saw MSU lead 18-17, the Bulldogs got it from Dillingham.
The senior leader scored 13 of her 16 first-half points in the second quarter going up against Mizzou's top player Sophie Cunningham on both ends of the floor. Dillingham hit four 3-pointers as the Bulldogs took a 36-27 lead into the break.
"I've got size on her but she's scrappy. You've got to have a lot of poise because she takes a lot of offensive fouls," Cunningham said. "There was a little bit of playground action but I was going to give what she gives me."
Dillingham's work transferred to the second half for the rest of the group as the Bulldogs jumped out to an 11-0 run in the first seven minutes for a 47-27 lead. That was enough to put the game away.
Richardson scored 11 points in the quarter as MSU (22-1, 8-1) pushed their lead out to 52-36 and they would keep a double-digit advantage the rest of the way.
Cunningham scored 19 points to lead Missouri (16-7, 6-4).
As the Bulldogs rolled to victory, the core four players that Schaefer brought in during his first recruiting class saw their career victories notch three figures. It was the 100th career win for Dillingham, Richardon, Okorie and Ketara Chapel who all played a factor in the Sunday win.
"I'm so happy for them. They believed when it wasn't easy to believe," Schaefer said. "They had to trust our vision and, man, have they made their own story and legacy at Mississippi State."
Victoria Vivians finished the game with 15 points in 27 minutes shooting 5-of-11 from the field for MSU. Richardson had 13 points.
Missouri: The Tigers had their five-game winning streak ended on Sunday. They fell to 16-8 and 6-4 in the SEC.
Mississippi State: After the Bulldogs dropped their first game of the season in heartbreaking fashion at South Carolina two weeks ago, they've started a new winning streak with three straight victories.
MOVING UP THE CHARTS
Mississippi State junior Victoria Vivians continues to move up the scoring chart in MSU history. Vivians' 15 points moved her into sole possession of seventh place in MSU history with 1,525 points. She's now two points away from sixth.
Missouri travels to Tennessee on Thursday.
Mississippi State plays host to Vanderbilt on Thursday.