STARKVILLE, Miss. — The SEC/Big 12 Challenge game between No. 6 Mississippi State and Oklahoma State felt like a conference game to Bulldogs coach Vic Schaefer.
Victoria Vivians scored a season-high 30 points and had eight rebounds and Mississippi State held off Oklahoma State 79-76 on Sunday to improve to 8-0.
“That was a heck of a game,” Schaefer said. “I knew going in that (Oklahoma State) was going to be ready. That’s the way that program is and how that staff gets them ready. I was proud of our resilience today. The reason we won the game was because of our toughness.”
Oklahoma State guard Loryn Goodwin had 35 points and played all 40 minutes. She also had 10 rebounds and four steals for the Cowgirls (6-2).
“I really just want to win,” said Goodwin, 13 of 29 from the field. “I’ve got to knock down more shots. We fought back but we still have a lot of things to get better at moving on to the rest of the season.”
Roshunda Johnson, a transfer from Oklahoma State, had 18 points for the Bulldogs against her former school. Morgan William added 15 points.
Mississippi State led 44-41 at the half, with the Bulldogs shooting 50 percent and Oklahoma State 49 percent of their shots as it stayed within one possession.
The Bulldogs took a 70-60 lead with 4 minutes left. Oklahoma State got as close as three points in the final seconds.
“I thought we came in and competed really hard. In games like this, it comes down to three possessions on both ends of the floor,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “Some of our turnovers came in the front court instead of the backcourt and they hurt us.”
Oklahoma State: The Cowgirls are in the midst of a brutal stretch of games. Their first loss of the season was to Tennessee in Cancun last week and they are playing back-to-back games against Top 10 opponents this week.
Mississippi State: Has 30 straight regular-season nonconference victories over the last three seasons. The Bulldogs’ last such loss came at Texas in 2015.
Oklahoma State: Hosts No. 7 UCLA on Friday.
Mississippi State: Hosts Arkansas Little Rock next Sunday.