This was all State(ment) ‘Dogs clobber Vols as no SEC team ever has done before

That’s right. You would have thought I was crazy. You wouldn’t have had the chance to say that, as I wouldn’t have said anything so outrageous, far-fetched. We are now in mid-afternoon Sunday, February 10, 2019, and Vic Schaefer’s Bulldogs have just beaten the proud Lady Vols 91 -63, before 10,021 at The Hump. This was historical, so we need to date it. This was the worst SEC loss in Tennessee history. No. 6 – and should have been higher – State moved up to 22-1 on season, 10-0 at the SEC after outscoring Tennessee 40-16 in the final 19 minutes. It was a tight, competitive match – but it wasn’t. You could have missed it if you went to the restroom or concession stand. It was almost as if Tennessee had a different gear. Holly Warlick, Tennessee’s coach, said that Mississippi State was a great basketball team. They hung with us for three quarters, then made a run and they could not answer.” It was more that they couldn’t even breathe. The Vols were annihilated by State in the final 19 minutes. This is women’s basketball. It is the same Tennessee team that won eight national championships, a combined 35 SEC titles and was the one that beat Mississippi State in 37 of its 41 previous games. When Tennessee was playing here, there were far more maroon than orange in the crowd a few years back. This is how things have changed seven years after Vic Schaefer arrived at State. There was some orange, but mostly pink as it was “Think Pink Day”, which recognized the fight against breast-cancer. You could see that the 10,000 plus were maroon-hearted and heard Teaira McCowan flying into the scorer’s table after she lost a ball. Schaefer has hinted more than once that McCowan, a legitimate national player of year candidate, sometimes isn’t as “locked-in” as she should be. She was more focused Sunday, diving to the floor for loose balls and dominating both ends of the court. State’s game highs were achieved by McCowan, who scored 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. She also blocked three shots. Everyone knows McCowan. But it is becoming more evident how great the Bulldog guards can be. Jazzmun Holmes, the point-guard, had eight assists to his team, one turnover and scored seven points. He also had two steals. Jordan Danberry, who was the fastest player on the court, scored 20 points from 10/15 shooting. She also passed out four assists, and didn’t turn the ball over. Danberry seemed to be able to get around any guard she wanted. I was amazed at her speed and asked if she had ever run track. She said that she had run the hurdles, 200, and 100 in high school. Next question: Did she ever lose? Danberry replied, “Only one girl beats me.” “Malica Monk” is Arkansas’ point guard. She is clearly fast, as Danbury is often blurred. With four minutes left in the third quarter, Tennessee was trailing 51-47. Tennessee is now 15-8 and 4-4. Danberry’s next three baskets, two of which were on driving layups, pushed that lead to 57-509. With five seconds remaining in the quarter, Bre’Amber Scott’s three-pointer made it 61-49. The State was only just getting started. Schaefer stated that “our team was special today.” Schaefer said, “Our team was special today.” She said that State, which has been in the national championship game twice consecutively, will be competing for the national title again. Warlick stated, “I believe they have a tremendous opportunity.” They have an excellent inside game and fast guards. They’re tough. They are hard workers …. They have a great chance.” That’s what I believe they have. Five years ago, who would have believed that?

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