STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State junior forward Ketara Chapel matched a career high with 19 points to lead the Bulldogs to another big victory in the Humphrey Coliseum Sunday afternoon.
Chapel was one of four in double figures as No. 6/7 Mississippi State beat Arkansas 80-55 to start Southeastern Conference play at 3-0.
In front of a school sixth-largest crowd of 5,712, MSU won its 11th straight game overall and 15th-straight at home to improve to 16-1 overall and 3-0 in league play. Arkansas fell to 6-10 and 1-2. The Razorbacks came to town fresh off a win over then-No. 13 Texas A&M.
Chapel did her damage on a 7 of 8 night from the field, with five rebounds, two assists and a steal. Dominique Dillingham added a season-high 16 points, while Victoria Vivians scored 13 points and Chinwe Okorie 12.
“Really proud of the kids today,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “The first five minutes of the fourth quarter were outstanding. We made some shots. Arkansas was coming in off a big win over Texas A&M, so we knew they would play hard.
“In the first half we were up 10 and didn’t guard right. Our defensive intensity was much better. Victoria got us to off to a great start. Ketara played well all night long.”
In the first quarter, both teams started strong on the offensive end.
Vivians hit back-to-back 3-pointers to quickly give the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead. Arkansas battled back for an 11-11 tie. The Bulldogs, however, scored the next six points, grabbing a 17-11 lead on a Chapel layup.
The Bulldogs led 19-17 after one quarter.
In the second quarter, Mississippi State used an 11-0 run to open a 30-19 lead with 5:42 left in the half. A 3-pointer by Dillingham helped keep the lead in double digits.
MSU shot 50 percent from the field in the second quarter and led 41-31 at halftime.
“I thought I was more aggressive,” Chapel said. “We knew (Breanna Richardson) wasn’t going to play today so I had to step it up on the offensive end. My job was to be aggressive and make sure the other players stayed in it.”
The Bulldogs quickly built the lead to 16 at 48-32. However, the Razorbacks kept battling, closing within eight at 48-40. Two free throws by Dillingham started an 8-0 run to help put the contest away.
In the fourth quarter, Dillingham hit two 3-pointers before Blair Schaefer hit another as the home crowd helped the team across the finish line.
“We played awfully well late in the third quarter and the fourth quarter to open up a tight game,” Schaefer said. “When you get 19 from Ketara and 16 from Dom, then that really takes the pressure off Victoria.”
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 26 of 60 shots from the field (43.3 percent), 8 of 17 shots from 3-point range (47.1 percent) and 20 of 26 shots from the foul line (76.9 percent). The Razorbacks hit 22 of 52 shots from the field (42.3 percent), 1 of 7 shots from 3-point range (14.3 percent) and 10 of 14 shots from the foul line (71.4 percent).
MSU held a 35-32 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 23 assists and 14 turnovers, while the Razorbacks had nine assists and 23 turnovers.
Arkansas received 20 points from Jessica Jackson and 12 points from Jordan Danberry. Melissa Wolff had a team-high 10 rebounds.
MSU returns to the road Thursday for a contest at Missouri. The Bulldogs and Tigers tip at 7 p.m., with the game available nationally online and via the WatchESPN app on SEC Network +.
State returns home Monday, Jan. 18, hosting arch-rival Ole Miss in a 6 p.m. start in the Humphrey Coliseum. That game will air nationally on SEC Network.
(From MSU Media Relations)