HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A strong defensive effort in the second half propelled No. 5 Mississippi State to an 86-42 victory over in-state foe Southern Miss on Friday night in Reed Green Coliseum. The Bulldogs held the Eagles to just 15 second-half points while cruising to a 10-0 start.
It was MSU's seventh straight win in the series and the 700th total win in program history. The Bulldogs have won 46 straight non-conference games against regular season opposition.
"It's always fun to come down here and play in front of our great fans," head coach Vic Schaefer said. "I thought that was a great atmosphere for both teams. I thought we answered the bell in the second half. If you hold someone to 15 points in a half, you're doing a lot of things right."
Anriel Howard led State in scoring with 16 points. She was followed in double figures by Jazzmun Holmes (13 points), Teaira McCowan (13 points), Jordan Danberry (12 points) and Chloe Bibby (11 points).
McCowan collected her eighth double-double with 16 rebounds.
It was a special day for Danberry, who scored 11 of her 12 points in the second quarter alone, as she participated in commencement ceremonies Friday morning on the MSU campus.
MSU led 21-16 after one quarter. Howard capped an 8-0 run in the first to give the Bulldogs an early 8-3 lead. A layup by Holmes and free throw by Howard would then push the lead to 17-7.
The Bulldogs slowly built the lead during a competitive second quarter. A putback by McCowan pushed the lead to 38-23. Danberry then scored in the closing seconds of the half for a 42-27 halftime lead.
A 12-0 run to end the third quarter pushed the lead to 65-35, while the Bulldogs allowed just six field goals in the second half.
For the contest, the Bulldogs shot 44.9 percent from the field and hit 21 of 30 shots from the foul line (70.0 percent). State scored 27 second-chance points, just one shy of its season high. The Bulldogs converted 40 points off turnovers for the third time this year and forced 27 turnover, second only to the 31 MSU created against Coppin State this year.
MSU held a 43-29 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 13 assists and eight turnovers, while the Lady Eagles had eight assists and 27 turnovers.
Southern Miss (6-4) received 10 points from Daishai Almond.
MSU remains on the road for a 9 p.m. CT start Tuesday at No. 7 Oregon. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.