The University of Maine women’s basketball team had averaged just 12.6 turnovers per game entering Sunday’s game against the fifth-ranked Mississippi State University Bulldogs at the Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Miss.
But the talented and senior-laden NCAA finalists forced the Black Bears into a season-high 27 turnovers and 6-foot-7 junior forward Teaira McCowan scored 18 points and corralled 11 rebounds, both game-highs, as the Bulldogs cruised to an 83-43 victory.
Mississippi State scored 29 points off Black Bear turnovers compared to UMaine’s seven off 16 MSU miscues.
MSU improved to 11-0 while the Black Bears fell to 6-5.
McCowan also had three steals in 26 minutes of playing time.
Third team All-America guard Victoria Vivians had 12 points and three assists in 21 minutes.
Nine Bulldogs scored at least six points and MSU used a 15-2 run over the final 3:38 of the first quarter to expand a 14-10 lead into a comfortable 29-12 advantage. MSU held UMaine to just six points in the second quarter to swell the lead to 45-18 at the intermission.
Jazzmun Holmes scored nine points and also contributed three assists and three steals while Jordan Danberry and Zion Campbell chipped in seven points and four rebounds apiece. Danberry had three assists, also.
Roshunda Johnson was one of four Bulldogs with six points and she also had six rebounds and a game-high four assists. Blair Schaefer, daughter of MSU coach Vic Schaefer, Morgan William and Chloe Bibby were the other six-point scorers. Schaefer dished out three assists.
Mississippi State shot 50 percent from the floor (31-for-52) and 36.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (7-for-19).
UMaine shot just 32.7 percent from the floor (16-for-49) and 15 percent from behind the 3-point line (3-for-20).
The Bulldogs outrebounded UMaine 39-28.
Freshman point guard Dor Saar scored eight points and had a team-high three assists to go with four rebounds. She also committed just one turnover in 31 minutes.
Junior guard Parise Rossignol from Van Buren and sophomore forward Fanny Wadling each had seven points and junior guard Tanesha Sutton scored six.
Wadling had a team-high seven rebounds and she also had two assists. Julie Brosseau had four rebounds but was held to just two points, 12 below her average.
The Black Bears were trailing just 14-10 late in the first period but a traditional three-point play by McCowan off a Vivians feed and Johnson’s long 3-pointer triggered the 15-2 spurt.
Rossignol’s jumper made it 20-12 but the Bulldogs scored the final nine points of the half on 3-pointers by Johnson and Vivians, a Holmes free throw and her steal and fast break layup with three seconds left.
The Black Bears will travel to Durham, N.C., for a Tuesday night date with former UMaine head coach Joanne Palombo-McCallie’s 8-2 Duke University Blue Devils, the nation’s 14th-ranked team.