STARKVILLE • No. 15 Mississippi State wasted little time making a statement in SEC play.
The back-to-back defending league champions quickly dispatched Florida 93-47 in the conference opener on Thursday night thanks to a 28-1 first half run. It was the Bulldogs’ seventh-straight victory over the Gators.
“I did not see this coming,” said MSU coach Vic Schaefer. “But wow, we were really good tonight.”
MSU (13-2) closed the opening quarter on an 11-1 run in the final 1:31 and began the second with a 17-0 start and took a 55-24 lead into the locker room for halftime.
The Bulldogs made 16 of its first 21 shots and finished the game shooting 57.8 percent. Jordan Danberry led the way with 21 points on 10 of 11 shooting along with eight assists and four steals.
“I’m giddy about my kids tonight,” Schaefer said. “I am beside myself, excited and proud of these young ladies and how they played. It hasn’t changed, we’re still young and inexperienced in so many areas with the exception of Jo.”
Rickea Jackson added a career-high 20 points while Chloe Bibby recorded her first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. State had 11 of its 12 players enter the scoring column and finished with 50 points in the paint.
Schaefer was also ecstatic about the play of Yemiyah Morris off the bench. The 6-foot-6 junior college transfer provided eight points, three rebounds and two blocks in eight minutes off the bench.
“Her blocks are vicious,” Schaefer said. “They’re really aggressive blocks. Not only does it make the person that gets it blocked think twice but her four teammates are probably thinking the same thing. That’s what I want her to do. If she’ll just defend and rebound, there are minutes to be played for her.”
Florida shot a season-low 28.8 percent, produced its lowest point output and finished with a season-high 21 turnovers. Kiara Jackson and Lavender Briggs both had 15 points as the Gators fell to 9-5.
State is back in action on Sunday as its travels to Georgia for a 3 p.m. tip on SEC Network.