Improvement of McCowan important for MSU women

Teaira McCowan (15)
Staff Writer

Teaira McCowan may not have Chinwe Okorie in the post anymore to make her better.

That doesn’t mean the improvement stops there for McCowan with the Mississippi State women’s basketball team.

The 6-7 junior is making sure she is taking the necessary steps to remain a force at center with the Bulldogs for the upcoming season and do it more consistently.

Okorie was a big help, but there are still teammates around McCowan that are making sure she gets the competition needed in practice.

“I get pushed every day by Chloe (Bibby) and Ameshya (Williams),” McCowan said. “Ameshya and Zion (Campbell) are there, so they pick up the slack from where Chinwe was.”

Down the stretch of the 2016-17 season and in MSU’s postseason run, McCowan had moments of very strong play.

In the third round of the NCAA Tournament game against Washington, McCowan showed what she could do with a double-double of 26 points and 12 rebounds. She hit 12 of 18 field goal attempts and both free-throw attempts as the Bulldogs defeated the Huskies 75-64.

“When we were dying on the vine, it was good just knowing my teammates would come to me for help whenever we needed a bucket,” McCowan said.

For the season with the Bulldogs, McCowan averaged 8.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.

MSU coach Vic Schaefer said the key now for McCowan will be to remain focused on being the best player she can be.

He knows there will be somewhat of an adjustment for her now that Okorie is gone, but Schaefer has challenged her to find other ways to get motivated.

"She’s really important to what we do," Schaefer said. "She looks great. I think the biggest thing for her is understanding what she brings to the table and the importance that she brings that every day. No days off. The importance is we have to have her and me teaching her how to stay out of foul trouble.”

McCowan said the focus in the offseason has been on footwork and finishing plays through contact.

During the summer, McCowan and teammate Victoria Vivians participated in the USA Team camp. It made both players better and made them anxious for the season.

“It was a good experience with me knowing I’ve got to be more versatile than just being a five player,” McCowan said of her experience. I have to have more mobility with my game."

Campbell, a 6-3 redshirt sophomore, is the only other true center listed on the Bulldog roster. It is anticipated that Bibby and Williams will also provide some backup at that position.