STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Victoria Vivians scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead top-seeded Mississippi State past No. 16 Nicholls 95-50 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night.
Mississippi State (33-1) started the game slowly, but scored 33 points in the second quarter to take a 54-24 lead into halftime and eventually cruise to the win. Teaira McCowan scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Blair Schaefer also scored 18 points.
Mississippi State shot 50 percent from the field, including 47 percent from 3-point range, and had a 51-29 rebounding advantage.
The Bulldogs bounced back from their only loss of the season, a 62-51 setback to South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference tournament final. Mississippi State won a program-record 32 straight games to open the season.
Nicholls (19-14) was led by Tykeria Williams, who scored 16 points. Cassidy Barrios added 14 points. The Colonels shot just 27.7 percent from the field.
Nicholls: The Colonels had plenty of fight and kept things competitive for a while, but the Bulldogs simply had too much size and talent. Nicholls made an impressive run just to get to the NCAA Tournament, beating No. 1 seed Lamar and No. 2 seed Stephen F. Austin to win the Southland Conference title.
Mississippi State: It was a hit-and-miss performance for the Bulldogs, who had to shake off the rust from a 13-day break between games. Mississippi State should get a much tougher test on Monday against Oklahoma State. The Bulldogs beat the Cowgirls 79-76 back in December.
Mississippi State will face No. 9 seed Oklahoma State on Monday in the second round.
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