By W.G. RAMIREZ
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Victoria Vivians had 26 points to reach a milestone and added nine rebounds in No. 5 Mississippi State's 76-65 victory over Syracuse on Thursday in the Duel in the Desert.
The 6-foot-1 senior guard became the third player in school history to reach 2,000 career points.
Teaira McCowan added 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulldogs (13-0) before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-7 junior is averaging 24.5 points and 14.5 rebounds in her last four games.
Gabrielle Cooper led Syracuse (11-1) with 22 points and nine rebounds. Tiana Mangakahia added 20 points, and Miranda Drummond had 14.
The Bulldogs shook off a sluggish start in the first quarter and used a tenacious defense to frustrate Syracuse while methodically wearing down the Orange over the final three quarters.
The Bulldogs defensive pressure was too much for the Orange, who committed 15 turnovers - 10 in the first half. Mississippi State took advantage in the first half, outscoring Syracuse 15-1 on points off turnovers.
Syracuse: The roster is filled with nine newcomers who've seen significant playing time and have proven to be an impact on the stat sheet. The new players have accounted for more than 85 percent of Syracuse's scoring, led by Binghamton-native Miranda Drummond.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs have won 35 consecutive regular-season nonconference games.
Syracuse: At UNLV on Friday.
Mississippi State: Hosts Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 28.
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