Mississippi State Wins Ugly in 86-71 Victory Over Kentucky

Mississippi State started SEC play with a relatively easy win on Thursday night against Arkansas. Sunday’s win came a lot of tougher, as Kentucky clawed and scratched like the wildcats on their warmups before finally dropping an 86-71 decision. In a game that featured nearly as many turnovers (46 combined) as made shots (56 combined), it was Mississippi State that was able to dictate the action, led by Anriel Howard’s 21 points and 12 rebounds, as the senior forward was one of four Bulldogs in double figures. She was joined by Chloe Bibby (18), Jordan Danberry (17), and Teaira McCowan, whose 13 points and 10 rebounds gave her a 51st career double-double.

DEFENSE DEFENSE DEFENSE

Jazzmun Holmes has been the glue for this team all season, providing leadership, consistency, but most importantly defense. The Bulldogs’ point guard had six steals on the day, to go with eight points, five rebounds, and five assists. Holmes did have an uncharacteristic four turnovers, but as always, she was the engine that makes the Bulldogs go, harrassing Kentucky’s guards and pushing the tempo for MSU on the fast break.

THE JORDAN RULES

Preseason predictions for the Bulldogs had McCowan and Howard doing most of the heavy lifting on this team, with Bibby likely the number three option as a scorer. That role has instead gone to Jordan Danberry, who has become a tremendous threat this season. She went for 17 points tonight, just three days after scoring a career high 26 in her return to Arkansas. Danberry has been able to score inside and out this year, going for double figures in every game except one. She’s provided an unexpected spark this season and has given the Bulldogs another weapon for opponents to worry about.

WHAT’S NEXT?

We’ll have a battle of the Bulldogs at the Humphrey Coliseum Thursday night, as Georgia arrives in Starkville for an 8 PM tip. The “other” Bulldogs have gotten off to a 2-0 start in SEC play as well, winning at home against LSU and on the road against Vanderbilt. MSU ran away with last season’s only match up between these two, claiming a 86-62 win in Athens.

We’ll go into this game in detail on the Thunder and Lightning Podcast, and of course, on SportsTalk Mississippi Monday afternoon.

Photo courtesy of Mississippi State athletics