Led by a pair of 20-point scorers and Chloe Bibby’s first career double-double, No. 15 Mississippi State cruised to a 93-47 victory over Florida in its Southeastern Conference opener on Thursday (Jan. 2) evening inside Humphrey Coliseum.
Mississippi State (13-2, 1-0 SEC) used a 28-1 scoring run that spanned nearly 6:30 of game action between the first and second quarters to open up a double-digit lead before closing out the 46-point win. With the game sitting at 16-11 in favor of the Bulldogs with 1:48 to play in the first quarter, MSU scored 28 of the next 29 points to open up a 32-point lead, 44-12, with 5:36 to play in the second quarter.
Mississippi State never trailed and owned the edge in nearly every offensive category, including a 37-17 edge in field goals made, 41-35 advantage in rebounds and a 24-5 edge in assists. State also forced 21 Gator turnovers, turning those into 26 points, and committed just 12 of its own.
“I’ve been really throwing a lot at them just to make sure that they’re ready,” head coach Vic Schafer said. “We’ve had a couple of long days. You know, we’re not in school, so just trying to make sure they are prepared. But man, wow. They were really good tonight.”
The defensive effort for State held Florida to season-lows for points (47), field goal percentage (.288), 3-point field goal percentage (.188) and the Gators turnover total was the most on the year. Offensively, the 93 points by MSU are the most allowed by Florida this season.
With the win, State evens the all-time series with Florida (9-5, 0-1 SEC), 25-25, and has won seven straight games over the Gators dating back to the 2014-15 season. The 46-point win is the third-largest margin of victory for MSU in the series, behind a pair of 48-point victories.
Jordan Danberry continued to lead the Bulldogs on the offensive and defensive ends, pacing the team in points (21), assists (8) and steals (4) in just three quarters. It was her 11th double-digit scoring effort of the season and fourth 20-point game of the year. Her eight assists are the most in a single game during her MSU career – besting her four-career, seven-assist efforts – while her four steals give her five games this season with four-plus swipes.
After an MVP effort at the Duel in the Desert, Rickea Jackson continued her solid freshman season by pouring in a career-high 20 points for her first-career 20-point game. The Detroit, Michigan, native now has 10 double-figure scoring outputs this season, including four straight games. She hit 9-of-11 shots from the field (81.8%), pulled down seven rebounds and added three assists in three quarters of action.
Bibby moved her career points total to 509 points, eclipsing the 500-point mark for her career with a three-pointer in the second quarter. Bibby ended the night with 13 points to go along with 10 rebounds for her first-career double-double effort.
The Bulldogs continued to dominate the opening quarter, as they owned a 27-12 edge following the first 10 minutes of action. Mississippi State got eight points from both Danberry and Jackson. State opened the scoring with a basket from Jackson that sparked a 6-0 spurt to open the game. After the Gators trimmed the lead to 8-7, MSU would outscore UF 19-5 over the final five minutes. In all, State shot 78 percent for the quarter and forced eight Gator turnovers through 10 minutes of play.
A 17-0 run to start the second quarter pushed State’s lead to 32 points, 44-12, with 5:36 to play. Jackson had eight of the 17 points to start the frame for the Maroon and White and ended the second quarter with a team-high 16 total points at the break. Yemiyah Morris added six points in the second quarter as MSU entered the break with a 31-point edge, 55-24.
The third quarter was the final for most of the Bulldog starters, as the 22-14 edge in the frame pushed the lead to 39 points, 77-38. State used a pair of five-point runs to extend its lead, as Danberry and Bibby each chipped in eight points in the third stanza. Jackson (4) and Xaria Wiggins (2) rounded out the scoring for State in the third.
Al 11-0 run over a three minute span late in the fourth pushed the lead over 40 points for good, as the five game starters didn’t log a minute on the court over the final 10 minutes. Aliyah Matharu led all scorers with eight points in the final quarter.