Howard scores 24, No. 6 Mississippi St tops Alabama 65-49
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Rather than rely on star center Teaira McCowan, No. 6 Mississippi State decided to go in a different direction.
Anriel Howard scored eight points in the first 10 minutes and finished with 24 to lead the Bulldogs over Alabama 65-49.
Howard had 15 by halftime, matching her season average, and kept adding to her total.
“That was an area we felt like we could attack,” Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said. “Her mid-range game is as good as anyone I’ve really ever coached.”
Howard made 9 of 12 shots and also had seven rebounds to keep Mississippi State (21-1, 9-0) unbeaten in the SEC.
McCowan posted her 17th double-double of the season, getting 12 points and 12 rebounds.
McCowan took only two shots in the first half. She finished 4 for 6 from the field and 4 for 6 from the foul line.
The Bulldogs were up by 12 at halftime and led almost the whole way.
Alabama (11-11, 3-6) struggled to find consistency the entire game, which started at the openings of the halves.
Mississippi State won the tip, but Andra Espinoza-Hunte turned it over. That led to a fast-break opportunity for Shaquera Wade, who missed the layup.
The second half began with another turnover by Espinoza-Hunte, but Wade again missed the layup.
“Layup to start the game and four layups to start the second half really put us at a disadvantage,” Alabama coach Kristy Curry said. “We just have to be tough enough to finish those.”
Alabama missed its first seven shots in the third quarter, scoring only seven points while shooting 17.6 percent in the period.
“Sometimes it just doesn’t go in,” Curry said. “I loved the shots we got. … It didn’t go in for us today, but you have to keep shooting.”
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs continue to dominate the SEC, especially their last four games, winning by an average of 32 points.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide are still looking for a consistent performance in consecutive games. The last time they won consecutive games dates back to Dec. 8-20 when they went on a three-game winning streak.
Alabama forward Jasmine Walker, the team’s second-leading scorer, shot 2 for 9 and had only six points.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs have their bye week before facing Tennessee next Sunday.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide play at Florida on Thursday.