STARKVILLE (HailState.com) – A stellar showing at the Puerto Rico Classic earned Victoria Vivians SEC Player of the Week honors and Mississippi State a No. 8 ranking in this week’s USA Today Coaches Poll.
Vivians averaged 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 steals for the week as the Bulldogs went 4-0 en route to improving to 11-1 on the season.
The sophomore from Carthage, Mississippi, tallied 16.0 points and 5.7 rebounds over three games in as many days to lead Mississippi State to the Puerto Rico Classic championship.
After scoring 10 points in a home win against Southern Mississippi, Vivians tallied 15 points, 13 in the first half, to lead the Bulldogs to a 65-60 win against reigning Atlantic Sun Conference champion Florida Gulf Coast in the tournament opener.
She added 15 more points the following day against Western Michigan, with nine coming in the second half as the Bulldogs pulled away for the 22-point win.
In Monday’s championship game against SMU, Vivians sparked the Bulldogs to an early lead by scoring 16 of her 18 points in the first half.
With 4:24 left in the game and State holding to a three-point lead, Vivians recorded a steal and a lay-in to put the Bulldogs up two possessions as they would go on to claim a 72-70 win.
Vivians, who ranks second in the SEC with 18.3 ppg this season, has scored double figures in 11-straight games, the most since Diamber Johnson had 13 straight in 2011.
The candidate for every national player of the year award eclipsed 700-career points and 100-career made 3-pointers on Sunday.
Vivians and the Bulldogs moved up to No. 8 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll during Monday’s championship game, and they also rose to No. 8 in Tuesday’s USA Today Coaches Poll.
State earned a 25th-straight week in the AP Top 25, including six-straight in the Top 10. The Bulldogs have been in the coaches poll for 24 weeks in a row, with five-consecutive weeks spent in the Top 10.
MSU is one of three SEC teams in the USA Today Top 10, joining No. 2 South Carolina and No. 7 Kentucky.
Texas A&M comes in at No. 14, followed by Tennessee at No. 16. South Florida, State’s foe on Dec. 30 in Jacksonville, Fla., comes in at No. 17.
Missouri is receiving votes in the USA Today poll after breaking into the Associated Press ranking at No. 25.
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