The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
TIP OFF CLASSIC - Cross Insurance Center - Bangor, Maine

No. 10 Mississippi St. glides past Villanova 108-62

345 days ago
Associated Press
Photo: Mississippi State Athletics

BANGOR, Maine -- Roshunda Johnson's fighting for playing time this season in a crowded Mississippi State backcourt. Her first impression certainly shouldn't hurt her ability to get on the floor.

The 5-foot-7 junior guard scored 21 points off the bench to lead the No. 10 Bulldogs over Villanova 108-62 on Friday night. Jazzmun Holmes and Morgan William both added 12.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 25-12 lead in the first quarter and a 55-26 advantage by halftime. Johnson, who sat out last season after transferring from Oklahoma State, made 8 of 9 shots from the field in her first game with the Bulldogs, including 3 of 4 3-pointers.

"I thought she really came in and did a nice job for us," Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said.

Johnson needed just 14 minutes on the court to score her 21 points. Her big night offset a quiet game from junior Victoria Vivians, who led the team in scoring last season but scored just four points against Villanova.

Schaefer said Johnson can run the offense as the team's point guard or move over to the No. 2 spot when other players are struggling.

Seven Mississippi State players scored in double figures, including Chinwe Okorie, who had 11 points and eight rebounds. The Bulldogs shot 60.3 percent (38 of 63) from the field and made 80 percent (28 of 35) of their free throws.

"I thought our pressure and our length really bothered them," Schaefer said. "I can't say enough about our kids -- we go 21 of 31 from the field in the first half. We made a lot of jump shots tonight."

Villanova was led by freshmen Kelly Jekot and Mary Gedaka, who both scored 12 points off the bench. The Wildcats made just 1 of 14 (7.1 percent) shots from 3-point range.

BIG PICTURE

Villanova: The Wildcats were overmatched against one of the nation's better teams. They should get a more realistic test against Purdue on Saturday.

Mississippi St: The Bulldogs did what they were expected to do in an early-season tuneup. Johnson's immediate impact bodes well for depth in the backcourt this season.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

Mississippi State's bench received plenty of playing time and delivered. The seven players combined for 64 points, including Johnson's 21. Freshman Jacaira Allen scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds in her first college game.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Mississippi State certainly looked like one of the nation's best teams on Friday. The Bulldogs should learn more about their team on Saturday, when they face Maine on its home floor.

UP NEXT

Villanova: The Wildcats will face Purdue on Saturday.

Mississippi St: The Bulldogs will face Maine on Saturday.