A historic 2014-15 campaign has landed the Mississippi State women’s basketball team signatures from two of the nation’s top players during the spring signing period.
The Bulldogs inked 6-foot-7 Teaira McCowan, rated as high as No. 12 overall and the nation’s second-best center, along with former Oklahoma State guard Roshunda Johnson, who averaged 11.3 points as a sophomore in Stillwater a year after earning Big 12 All-Freshman Team honors.
“Teaira, at 6-7, provides that inside presence Martha (Alwal) gave us for four great years. She has the opportunity to do what Martha did and then some. She has the ability to be a dominant rebounder and shot blocker after averaging 17 rebounds and four blocks last season while also being a great help defender and a great low-post presence that you need to compete in the Southeastern Conference,” SEC Coach of the Year Vic Schaefer said. “Her wonderful mother has instilled in her a tremendous work ethic and presence that again will add character and class to our Hail State Hoops program. Teaira’s high school career at Brenham High School sets her apart from most high school players past and present as she averaged over 19 points, 18 rebounds and nearly five blocks the last three years, All-American numbers.
“Roshunda is exactly what we need as far as a Top-50 guard in the country. She showed tremendous growth between her freshman and sophomore seasons, and we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to add her to our program. Ro comes from a great family who has instilled in her the values and character our current team embraces. She is the perfect fit and the total package for our Hail State Hoops Program.
“Ro and Teaira come from a tremendous AAU program in DFW Elite that is one of the top AAU programs in country. They have been exposed to a high level of competition, so we feel very fortunate to have two kids from such a high-profile program. They bring exactly what we are looking for, a competitive spirit, toughness and a knowledge of the game. Plain and simple, they are winners. They have an edge to them that will allow them to compete in the SEC. The character of these great young ladies will fit in well with the rest of our Hail State Hoops family.”
Johnson will have to sit the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
McCowan, a 5-star prospect by ESPN/HoopGurlz, has been a standout in the paint for Brenham High School in Texas, averaging 19.3 points, 17.1 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in leading her squad to a 25-8 overall record and 13-1 district mark.
That stellar senior campaign earned her a selection to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC) All-Star Game.
In addition to being MSU’s second-straight ESPN/HoopGurlz Top 100 recruit (49th overall), McCowan was rated No. 26 by Premier Girls Report and 12th overall, the No. 2 center, by Full Court.
All-Star Girls Report also pegged her the No. 2 center and the 16th-best player overall.
“I had a great visit, and I loved the team chemistry. I don’t think there is another team that has as great a chemistry as the Bulldogs,” McCowan said. “The coaching staff was great. They really made me feel at home and showed me how much they wanted me to become a Bulldog.
“It means a lot to have a team that really likes me, and they really showed me that they want me to play with them on the next level. I feel like I can bring that extra little kick that will help Mississippi State get to the next level.”
The repeat all-state selection also earned the opportunity to play for USA Basketball, where she helped the Red, White and Blue to a 5-0 record and the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA Americas 18U Championship.
That opportunity came after she was named a USA Today All-Texas second team and a TABC All-State honoree in 2014.
As a junior she scored at an 18.1 clip and pulled down 18.8 rebounds and blocked 4.5 shots in guiding Brenham to a 29-4 record and the region quarterfinals.
Her sophomore season the Cubettes advanced to the area finals with a 25-11 record. She started all but two games, averaging 19.7 points to go with 19.2 rebounds and 5.0 blocks.
Johnson, a Little Rock, Ark., native, averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.8 steals in two seasons at Oklahoma State, helping the squad to the NCAA Tournament both years.
Last season she added 3.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists to her 11.3 scoring average as she helped the Cowgirls to a 20-12 overall record, 9-9 Big 12 mark, and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
“I loved my visit. Everything about it was great. I’m glad I made my decision to come here,” Johnson said. “The coaches were so open with me and made it feel like home.
“Just sitting back and watching how the players and coaches interacted with each other, I couldn’t ask for a better family than them. These girls have a really good chemistry, and you can tell they all really love each other. That made me really want to be part of the Bulldogs.”
A starter in 31 of 32 games, she finished as the team’s third-leading scorer behind 35.3-percent shooting from the floor, 39.3-percent shooting from 3-point range and a 77.5-percent clip from the free-throw line.
Johnson tallied 10 points and three assists in OSU’s NCAA Tournament loss to Florida Gulf Coast after averaging 18 points, three rebounds, two assists and three steals to earn Big 12 All-Tournament Team honors.
The stellar sophomore campaign followed a freshman season that saw her earn Big 12 All-Freshman Team accolades after averaging 5.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.2 steals in helping Oklahoma State to a 25-9 record and the NCAA Sweet 16.
Johnson made the jump to the college game following a stellar prep career at Parkview High School in which she rated as the 38th-best player in the nation by All-Star Girls Report and 46th by Premier Basketball Report.
She was tabbed the 49th-best player in her class by ESPN and No. 45 by Full Court after earning 6A all-state honors her junior and senior seasons.
She also earned first team all-state accolades from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was tabbed to the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Game.
A McDonald’s All-America nominee, she led Parkview to an 18-6 record and an appearance in the state championship game where she scored 13 points and earned all-tournament honors.
The state runner-up showing came after she helped the Patriots win the state title as a junior, averaging 21 points, six rebounds, eight assists and three steals on the campaign.
Her sophomore season Parkview finished as the state runner-up and compiled a 22-4 record.
The duo joins Mississippi all-state standout Jazzmun Holmes, junior college All-American Jazmine Spears and 6-3 center Zion Campbell who signed in November during the early signing period.
(From MSU Media Relations)