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Rick Nixon | | December 6, 2016

Mississippi State named team of the week

  Mississippi State defeated Iowa State in overtime to become the Team of the Week.

The undefeated Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-0) scored another defining win on Saturday, rallying back from a 17-point deficit to defeat Iowa State, 85-81 in overtime at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa to earn Team of the Week honors. The SEC/Big 12 Challenge win came against a previously undefeated Iowa State team that saw its 96-game non-conference home win streak come to an end. It was the first time since 2012 that Mississippi State had rallied to win after trailing by 10 or more points at the intermission.

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In the win, Mississippi State placed five players in double figures. Morgan William had a season-high 24 points, including going 6 of 6 at the free-throw line the final 24 seconds of overtime, while Victoria Vivians had 16 points. Roshunda Johnson had 15 points in her first start of the season. Chinwe Okorie and Breanna Richardson each added 10 points, while Okorie recorded her first double-double of the season as she gathered a team-high 11 rebounds. William had five assists. For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 31 of 64 shots from the field (48.4 percent), 7 of 17 shots from 3-point range (41.2 percent) and 16 of 23 shots from the foul line (69.6 percent). Mississippi State held a 31-27 rebounding advantage and had had 13 assists and 13 turnovers.

Prior to the win over Iowa State, Mississippi State had served notice by winning the Maine Tipoff Tournament with wins over Villanova and Maine, as well as the Rainbow Wahine Showdown in Hawaii with wins over Oregon, San Jose State and Hawaii. The two tournament titles were sandwiched around wins in Mississippi over Tulane and Texas, with only the Texas win (79-68) on their home court (Humphrey Coliseum) in Starkville on Nov. 20.

One of the nation’s strongest defensive units, Mississippi State has a 24.6 points per game scoring differential this season, averaging 81.8 points per contest while giving up only 57.2. Vivians leads the team through the first eight games with an average of 14.6 points per game, while William chips in 11.9 points per outing and Johnson, 10.4.

Mississippi State breaks for final exams before returning to the road Dec. 10 to face Southern Miss.

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