- Associated Press - Sunday, February 19, 2017

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - No. 3 Mississippi State and No. 23 Texas A&M; traded eight leads Sunday, leaving Bulldogs coach Vic Schaefer worn but pleased with the end result.

“That was a heck of a ball game, and you hate somebody had to come out on the short end,” Schaefer said. “There were a lot of runs in this game, we just happened to get the last one.”

The Bulldogs did indeed, as Victoria Vivians scored 25 points and Mississippi State avoided an upset with a 72-67 victory.

The Aggies (19-8, 9-5 Southeastern Conference) led by seven points in the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs (27-1, 13-1) charged back, highlighted by Teaira McCowan’s two field goals in the paint in the last 1:17.

McCowan had 16 points for the Bulldogs, and her game-high 13 rebounds were nearly twice as many as anyone else on the court.

“She was really special today,” Schaefer said about McCowan, who grew up close to College Station in Brenham.

A&M; had a seven-point lead with seven minutes remaining, but Vivians scored 10 points the rest of the way to key the comeback.

“I took a couple of bad shots in the first half and wasn’t being aggressive like coach told us to be,” Vivians said. “In the second half I got back on the right track, and started being more aggressive.”

The Aggies lost despite making all seven of their 3-point attempts, including 4 for 4 by Danni Williams and 3 for 3 by Taylor Cooper. Williams led the Aggies with 23 points.

A&M; held a 65-63 lead with 2:18 remaining when MSU’s Ketara Chapel coolly sank a 3-pointer from the left side of the key, for a 66-65 Bulldogs lead on her only attempt of the night.

“There was no bigger shot than what Ketara made in front of our bench,” Schaefer said.

Mississippi State’s reserves outscored their A&M; counterparts 28-0, and the Bulldogs held a 34-22 advantage in the paint.

“I told my kids, the effort was great (but) I’m not in this thing for moral victories,” A&M; coach Gary Blair said. “We were up seven points, and we’re supposed to win at home. That’s the bottom line: We’re supposed to win at home.”

Schaefer spent 15 years with Blair as an assistant, the first six at Arkansas and the last nine at A&M;, prior to taking the MSU rebuilding job five years ago.

“They can do a lot of damage in the postseason,” Schaefer said about the Aggies. “I certainly don’t want to play them again.”


Mississippi State: The Bulldogs won for the first time in four tries in College Station, and swept the season series. With the comeback victory, MSU locked up one of the top two seeds in the SEC Tournament that starts March 2 in Greenville, South Carolina.

Texas A&M;: The Aggies crept into the Top 25 this week at No. 23, but suffered two losses, first at LSU on Thursday and then on Sunday to the Bulldogs. A&M; will kick itself over this latest setback for a while, considering the Aggies had the late seven-point lead.


A&M; finished with eight turnovers compared to 11 for MSU, but half of the Aggies’ miscues occurred in the final 8:18, in the midst of the Bulldogs’ frenzied comeback.


“We had a seven-point lead, and they just had more poise than us. It’s frustrating, to know we were that close, but didn’t close it out.” - Texas A&M; guard Danni Williams


MSU runs much deeper than A&M;, as nine Bulldogs played at least nine minutes, while no Aggie outside the starting five played more than seven minutes.


The Bulldogs likely will hold steady at No. 3 after No. 1 Connecticut and No. 2 Maryland both prevailed in their contests this week.


Mississippi State: The Bulldogs will try and stretch their winning streak to eight games when they play at Kentucky on Thursday night.

Texas A&M;: The Aggies will try and snap a two-game losing streak when they play host to No. 6 South Carolina on Thursday night.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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