Monday, January 2, 2017
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — When the lights come on and the games mean more, Victoria Vivians is at her best.
The Mississippi State junior forward showed that Sunday, scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to help the No. 5 Bulldogs rout LSU 74-48 in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
"That's how an All-American is supposed to play," coach Vic Schaefer said. "You could tell on the defensive end that it just means something to her. That's the difference in our team right now."
Mississippi State (15-0) forced the Tigers (11-3) into 20 turnovers and outrebounded them 36-28.
Chloe Jackson led LSU with 14 points. Tigers scoring leader Raigyne Moncrief had 12, but had only six in the first three quarters on 3-of-10 shooting. She fouled out with 3:35 remaining.
The Tigers forced 19 turnovers but shot just 34 percent.
Vivians shot 8-for-14 from the field and played all but five minutes.
"We got great looks for her and she made shots," Schaefer said. "Our team really plays with a sense of calmness when she's got that going."
Mississippi State senior guard Dominique Dillingham returned to the starting lineup after missing six games because of a minor knee procedure. She had four points in 30 minutes.
The Bulldogs led 19-10 after one quarter, 37-19 at the half and 59-34 after three en route to the largest margin in series history.
Mississippi State held the Tigers to 34 percent shooting, but the 57 percent from the field on the offensive side was the difference.
"We create a lot of our offense through our defense and they did a great job of taking care of the basketball and not allowing us to get our transition game going," LSU coach Nikki Fargas said.
Senior center Chinwe Okorie added 17 points and six rebounds in her 24 minutes of play to help the Bulldogs dominate the post game.
"Chinwe and Teaira have developed a whole lot, they've worked hard," Schaefer said. "It can be a challenge. The development of our bigs inside really make it easy for our guards."
STAT OF THE GAME
Vivians had 12 rebounds, the most in a single conference game in her three-year career. It tied a career high which has been notched three different times.
Mississippi State: After a challenging nonconference schedule that included being without star defender Dominique Dillingham, the Bulldogs have their second-best start in school history. The early schedule should prepare them for the road ahead.
LSU: The Tigers had a tough nonconference schedule of their own, including a home loss to No. 1 UConn. They have Moncrief back after an injury last season and will only improve in SEC play.
Mississippi State: At Arkansas on Thursday.
LSU: Hosts Florida on Thursday.