Howard Leads MSU to 6-0 Start in Conference Play

Source: Mississippi State University
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 7/6 Mississippi State won its eighth straight game with a resounding 90-42 win over Florida on Thursday night at Exatech Arena.

The Bulldogs (18-1, 6-0 SEC) tied last year's game against the Gators for the second-largest margin of victory in an SEC game in school history. It was State's 22nd consecutive regular-season conference win.

"I am just really pleased with my team today," head coach Vic Schaefer said. "I thought our guard play was really good. We set the tone early. I thought that is where we really dictated the tempo. I thought Jazz [Holmes] was outstanding today defensively and running our team. I thought it started with her energy on the ball."

Anriel Howard led four Bulldogs in double figures with 21 points. She was followed by Bre'Amber Scott (15 points) and Jordan Danberry (12 points). Xaria Wiggins scored a season-high 11 points. Howard also had a team-high eight rebounds.

The Bulldogs set the tone early when a 10-0 run opened up a 14-5 advantage. Howard then hit a 3-pointer and added a layup for a 21-7 advantage. Howard capped a 6-0 run with a made basket to give the Bulldogs a 27-9 lead after one quarter. She scored 17 in the opening frame.

The Bulldogs ran the lead to 24 points in the early stages of the second quarter. A 16-0 run to end the half gave the Maroon and White a 54-22 lead at the break. The Gators were held scoreless over the final 4:09 of the half.

Jazzmun Holmes and Danberry scored back-to-back baskets to cap an 8-0 run for a 60-24 lead with 7:35 left in the third quarter. Another big run ended the quarter as this time an 11-2 run gave the Bulldogs a 73-34 lead after three quarters.

"I think the real thing I was pleased with was my bench, 43 bench points," Schaefer said. "I thought our bench was really good. When we can score 90 points and Teaira [McCowan] just has two, it is a pretty good day for us."

The Bulldogs held the Gators without a field goal over the final 4:42 to close out the road win. MSU forced 27 turnovers, its highest mark in that category in conference play.

State was outrebounded for just the third time this year, 40-36. The Bulldogs had 20 assists for the eighth time this year. Holmes, the nation's leader in assist/turnover ratio dished out six assists without a turnover.

Florida (5-14, 1-5 SEC) received 14 points from Funda Nakkasoglu.

MSU will host in-state rival Ole Miss at 2 p.m. CT Sunday in Humphrey Coliseum with the game airing on SEC Network.