CANCUN, Mexico — Teaira McCown made her presence felt down the stretch after going scoreless in the first half because of foul trouble.

McCowan had 15 points and 14 rebounds to help No. 7 Mississippi State beat 24th-ranked Arizona State 65-57 in the Cancun Challenge on Thursday.

“I thought Teaira was just dominant,” Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said. “Offensive boards, defensive boards. She was really good. She didn’t attempt a shot in the first half. She had a double-double in the second half.

“It’s a great learning curve for her, understanding the importance of being ready to play and not have to sit and watch most of the game.”

Victoria Vivians scored 17 points and Roshunda Johnson added 16 to lead the Lady Bulldogs (4-0).

Trailing by two heading into the fourth quarter, Mississippi State scored nine of the first 11 points, including six by McCowan, to go up 52-47. The Lady Bulldogs’ 6-foot-7 center extended the advantage to 58-51 with 3:23 left by converting an offensive rebound.

“I just knew that I got a couple early fouls in the first half, so I knew I had to come out in the second half, had to be there for my team whenever they were delivering the ball I had to finish inside,” McCowan said.

Arizona State (4-1) could only get within four the rest of the way.

“We can turn you over and go lay it in, we’ve got to do that,” Schaefer said. “Sometimes it takes the fourth quarter to wear someone down. That may have happened. We finally caught up to them. Maybe they were a little winded, shots were a little shorter.”

Kianna Ibis scored 13 points to lead the Sun Devils.

“We were right there to take it down the stretch and a young team, we didn’t quite have the killer instinct maybe we’ll have next time we’re in this situation,” Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “I thought they came out in the fourth quarter and were the more aggressive team. They forced some turnovers we shouldn’t have had.”

Arizona State trailed by 11 after the first quarter before turning up its defense in the second. Mississippi State made just one of its 13 shots in that quarter and found itself down 29-28 at the half. The Lady Bulldogs didn’t have a basket for the final 7:45 of the opening half.

“We haven’t really been down like that, so it was something we’ll be able to draw from moving forward,” Turner Thorne said. “I think it’s a great experience for us. This was a like a Pac-12 game for us. This is the level of competition we play day in and day out.”

FUN IN THE SUN

This is the fourth time since 2005 that the Sun Devils have visited Cancun for the annual Thanksgiving weekend tournament. In their most recent appearance, in 2013, the Sun Devils won all three of their contests.

BIG PICTURE

Arizona State: The Sun Devils entered the game ranked No. 5 in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.88), ninth in assists per game (22.5), 14th in scoring defense (50.1 ppg) and 18th in field-goal percentage (48.9) and rebound margin (+14.8).

Mississippi State: This was only the second meeting ever between the schools. The other game also was in Cancun, a game won by Arizona State, 70-48, in the 2005 Carribean Classic. … Mississippi State won 25 straight regular-season nonconference games and its past six regular-season tournaments dating back to 2014-15.

UP NEXT:

Arizona State plays Green Bay in the second game of the tournament on Friday.

Mississippi State plays Columbia in the second game of the tournament on Friday.