LAS VEGAS (AP) — Teaira McCowan had 31 points and 15 rebounds and No. 5 Mississippi State routed host UNLV 103-63 on Wednesday on the first day of the Duel in the Desert.
McCown shot 60 percent from the floor and made all seven of her free throws. Victoria Vivians added 22 points and six rebounds for Mississippi State (12-0), and Roshunda Johnson scored 12 points.
Brooke Johnson led UNLV (5-5) with 21 points, Paris Strawther added 12, and Katie Powell had 11.
The Bulldogs led by as many as 43, early in the fourth quarter, when coach Vic Schaefer had a lineup on the floor that averaged a collective 3.9 points per game.
After falling behind by three early in the first quarter, the Bulldogs used a 15-0 run — eight from Vivians — to take control.
The Lady Rebels went on a four-minute scoring drought, and score just two points over the final 5:27 seconds of the first quarter, a layup by Johnson with 1:26 left in the period.
Mississippi State built its lead to 20 points on the strength of a scorching start from long-range, hitting 8 of 11 from beyond the 3-point line in the first quarter alone.
Mississippi State extended its lead to 27 by the end of the half, taking advantage of UNLV’s costly mistakes. The Lady Rebels committed 16 turnovers, while the Bulldogs scored 25 points off turnovers in the first half.
Vivians, listed as a 6-foot-1 guard, victimized the Lady Rebels wherever she shot the ball, hitting 7 of 11 from the floor, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range, for 17 first-half points.
Mississippi State: With two games left before SEC play begins, the Bulldogs are on target to open league play undefeated. Mississippi State picked to finish second behind No. 4 South Carolina. The top two teams in the SEC meet just once during the regular season, on Feb. 5, at Mississippi State.
UNLV: The Lady Rebels continue to struggle with their scoring defense, as they came into the game ranked 230th in the nation in allowing 67.9 points per game. It marked the sixth time this season they’ve allowed more than 70 points. In their five losses, the Lady Rebels have been outscored by an average of 24.4 points per loss.
Mississippi State: Faces No. 22 Syracuse in Las Vegas on Thursday.
UNLV: Hosts No. 22 Syracuse on Friday.