#5 Mississippi State v. #9 Oregon takeaways

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 31: Victoria Vivians
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 31: Victoria Vivians /

STARKVILLE, MISSISSIPPI- In one of the marquee non-conference games of the season, the Mississippi State Bulldogs defeated the Oregon Ducks by a score of 90-79, a game that MSU never trailed in after the 7:38 mark in the first quarter. There are a ton of takeaways from the game so let’s not waste more time and get right into them.

Takeaway one- Good luck trying to stop Teaira McCowan and Victoria Vivians 

How does 38 points on 15-of-18 shooting to go along with 19 rebounds and 5 blocks sound to you? Pretty good, right? That was the line of the 6’7 junior McCowan who gave Oregon fits all night. After scoring on her first shot of the night, a hook shot in the lane, McCowan caught the ball two possession later at the free throw line and with no hesitation turned around and nailed the 15-foot jumper. When that one went in, you had a feeling it might be one of those kind of games.

As if McCowan’s night wasn’t enough for the Bulldogs, Vivians came out of the locker room at halftime looking the part of a completely different player than the first half. After scoring just 4 points on 1-of-4 shooting in the 1st half, Vivians went off for 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting in the second half. For the game, she hit five three points on just eight attempts, continuing her season long trend of being extremely efficient. They obviously won’t put up those stat lines every night but both players, not to mention Morgan William, have proven to be more than capable of taking down any opposition.

Takeaway two- Oregon is going to be a PROBLEM for years to come

Yeah, they lost, but my goodness are they legit. Coming in, you had to wonder what would give: Oregon’s offense or MSU’s defense. Well, it kind of was neither. Despite the loss, Oregon still shot 56.1% from the field and was 7-of-14 from behind the three point line, numbers that will normally get you a win. Their defense has to improve for them to make real noise when it matters, but their offense is among the best I’ve seen this season. Sabrina Ionescu never looked completely comfortable tonight, handing out five assists (tied for 2nd fewest this season) and turned it over four times (tied for the most this season), but she still have 15 points.

Ruthy Hebard was 11-of-12 (!!) from the field in route to 25 points and looks to be vastly better than she was last season. Freshman Satou Sabally from Germany looks to have all of the potential in the world, Lexi Bando is the only player in the rotation who is graduating and Notre Dame transfer Erin Boley will be eligible next season. The Ducks are going to be impossible to guard and in the meantime while they are growing, they are still pretty darn good.

Takeaway three- It is time to stop calling Mississippi State a defensive only team

Yes, they play excellent defense even though you know what is coming every game. They are going to play man-to-man. They are going to hard hedge and recover on ball screens. They will press you by face guarding in the full court. They cause all sorts of turnovers. But you know what else they do? They put the ball in the hoop.

While they certainly seem content and comfortable playing in the 70’s, this game tonight reminded everyone that they are willing and able to get into a track meet. McCowan and Vivians were the stars tonight, but William, Blair Schaefer and Roshunda Johnson have all had big games that make you wonder who exactly you have to worry about on any given night.