McCowan's 26 points lifts Miss. St to 86-62 win over Georgia

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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - Teaira McCowan had 26 points and 13 rebounds to help No. 5 Mississippi State remain unbeaten with an 86-62 win over Georgia on Sunday in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.

McCowan scored nine of Mississippi State's (15-0, 1-0 SEC) 16 points in the first quarter when not much else was going right. She gathered in 12 of her 13 rebounds in the first half.

Victoria Vivians added 20 points for State while Roshunda Johnson had 16.

Georgia (12-2, 0-1 SEC) got 13 points from Caliya Robinson and 10 apiece from MacKenzie Engram and Haley Clark.

Mississippi State came in accustomed to a fast start, averaging a 25-13 first-quarter spread. But it was Georgia that bolted out of the gate, scoring the first two baskets in less than a minute, prompting an early timeout call by Vic Schaefer.

Mississippi State managed a 16-14 lead at the quarter break, thanks to nine points by McCowan. State took over in the second quarter and led 33-19 with 3:50 to go in the half. A pair of 3-pointers by Blair Schaefer and Vivians' midrange game sparked the surge.

McCowan had a first-half double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds as State led 37-27 at the half. She has seven straight double-double games.

In the second half, McCown kept scoring inside, and Johnson sank three 3-pointers, putting State on top 61-35 with 2:11 to go in the third quarter.

Georgia never mounted a serious threat down the stretch.


The inside dominance of the 6-foot-7 McCowan coupled with athletic perimeter players like Vivians and Johnson make Mississippi State as a legitimate threat to return to the Final Four.


Georgia continues its SEC slate with a trip to Vanderbilt Thursday.

Mississippi returns home for a conference against Arkansas Thursday.