/McCowan, Holmes lead State into Elite Eight

McCowan, Holmes lead State into Elite Eight

Both players showed why they may be the best at their positions in the USA by leading the top-seeded Mississippi State Bulldogs, a 76-53 win over Arizona State. State advances to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight, for the third year in a row. McCowan, who scored 22 points and 15 in the fourth quarter, grabbed 13 rebounds and became the NCAA Tournament’s all-time top rebounder. Holmes had 13 points and seven assists. He also did not turnover the ball against Arizona State’s pressure defense. This was the most perfect game you’ll ever see a point-guard play. The game plan of Arizona State was simple and brutal. McCowan was to be kept away from the ball, no matter what. Afterward, Coach Charli Turn Thorne stated the same. She said, “We wanted somebody to beat us.” McCowan was surrounded by players, sometimes two to three at a. They pushed McCowan. They placed their hands on her and pushed her. It worked for a while. McCowan had scored two points and taken one shot at halftime. She had seven points after three quarters. Two things happened. First, Arizona State players started to leave as the fouls piled up. McCowan seemed to get stronger, even though the Devils tried unsuccessfully to move her. In the fourth quarter, State beat Arizona State 22-8. McCowan beat Arizona State 15-8. McCowan stated, “I know that my teammates will knock down shots at some point.” Then they’ll start to fade away. It will take three players to me and then it will be two. Then, it’ll be one on one. “I just had to be smart.” So did Holmes. Schaefer praised Holmes immediately after the game. He didn’t wait to hear from anyone. Schaefer stated, “If there is a better point-guard in the country who brings the ball up to the court, handles her teammates, gets her team involved in an offense, and guards on both ends, I’m open for you to tell me that person.” She is the number one player in the country for assist-to-turnover ratio. She is also number one in the most important stat, the W. Her team has 33-2 players with four new starters… She is amazing. Our team follows her on both ends of court.” Holmes is fast and very agile, but she keeps everything under control. Arizona State guards your ball and tries to pressurize it. Holmes played 39 minutes 22 seconds in a 40-minute match against this type of defense, without turning the ball over. Give it a try. McCowan’s ability to control her emotions might have been even more impressive than Holmes’ ball security. She was almost abused, almost as a blocking dummy or boxer’s heavy bags. She might have lost her temper or her poise in past years, or even earlier in this season. She said, “I am aware that I need to be a bit more cool for my teammates and my coaches.” “I know that I cannot go out and do something insane and receive a technical foul, and then be sitting on the bench. That’s not what my teammates need.” This is a difficult task. She did it brilliantly Friday night. So, State will now face Oregon on Sunday for the right of reaching the third consecutive Final Four. The Ducks defeated State 82-74 at Eugene, Ore on December 18. McCowan was held to just five shots and five rebounds by McCowan. They played with the exact same strategy as Arizona State. Schaefer believes McCowan has matured and grown as a player over the years. It doesn’t take long for us to discover just how much.