Bulldogs win at Alabama to set season wins record

Victoria Vivians

Victoria Vivians

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Mississippi State survived a scare Sunday afternoon to claim a 57-55 road win at Alabama and set the school single-season wins record with its 25th of the season.

The win also matched a school record with 10 wins in league play.

“I don’t think you can say this is just another win,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “There has been a lot of great basketball played at Mississippi State. Coach (Sharon) Fanning had a lot of great teams and a lot of great players. For the youth on this team, for us to get to 25, is a tremendous accomplishment.

“I am really proud of being the coach at Mississippi State. We are giving God the glory. It’s a great University. We are now looking forward to No. 26.”

MSU improved to 25-4 overall and 10-4 in league play, while Alabama fell to 13-16 and 2-12. The Bulldogs enter the final week of the regular season in a two-way tie with Texas A&M for third place in the conference standings.

Both teams struggled offensively throughout the contest, with MSU finally surging ahead for good with 12:56 left in the game.

Victoria Vivians was one of four Bulldogs in double figures and led the way with 14 points. Dominique DillinghamMartha Alwal and Morgan William followed with 10 points each.

“Life on the road is tough,” Schaefer said. “You are just trying to get out of here with a win. I am so proud of our fans and can’t thank them enough. It was great to be able to play with our fans cheering. We had more fans here than we did. They were the MVP because they got us through this game.

“It wasn’t our best day but we found a way.”

Alabama built an early 8-4 lead and later led 15-10. Two free throws by Alwal gave MSU its first lead at 16-15. The lead swung back and forth before Blair Schaefer drained a 3-pointer to give MSU a 27-25 halftime lead.

A 3-pointer by Vivians gave MSU a 32-28 lead with 16:11 left in the contest. Alabama scored the game’s next five points, but Vivians again had a 3-pointer as a 7-0 run pushed the MSU lead to 40-34.

Dillingham helped the Maroon and White to its largest advantage when her 3-pointer made it 51-43 with 3:50 left.

MSU extended the lead to 55-47 with 2:33 left, but the Crimson Tide scored five-straight points to cut the MSU lead to three with 1:50 left.

Vivians scored what would prove to be the winning basket as she followed her miss and sank the putback to move MSU in front 57-52.

Alabama answered with a 3-pointer and actually held the game’s final possession. Karyla Middlebrook drove the lane, but Dillingham blocked her shot and grabbed the rebound to close out the win.

For the contest, MSU hit 19 of 60 shots from the field (31.7 percent), 6 of 18 shots from 3-point range (33.3 percent) and 13 of 17 shots from the foul line (76.5 percent). Alabama hit 17 of 41 shots from the field (41.5 percent), 4 of 13 shots from 3-point range (30.8 percent) and 17 of 24 shots from the foul line (70.8 percent).

MSU held a 48-24 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 11 assists and 21 turnovers, while the Crimson Tide had nine assists and 18 turnovers.

Alabama received 21 points from Ashley Williams and 11 points from Middlebrook.

MSU travels to No. 2 South Carolina for a 6 p.m. CT start Thursday on Fox Sports Net South.

Prior to the trek to Columbia, Mississippi State will host its final Hail State Hoops Luncheon of the season Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. in Mize Pavilion.

Cost for the luncheon is $12, and fans can RSVP by calling (662) 325-0198 or emailing dbrown@athletics.msstate.edu.

(From MSU Media Relations)

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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