COLUMBIA, Mo. - Mississippi State registered a match-leading 37 kills, but Missouri's dominant blocking game proved to be the difference-maker as MU's Tigers (14-5, 6-3 SEC) powered past the Bulldogs in a match televised nationally by ESPNU Sunday at Mizzou's Hearnes Center.
State (4-14, 0-9 SEC) bowed in straight sets 25-15, 25-21 and 25-19.
Junior Dani McCree hit .318 and delivered a season-best 11 kills and freshman Taylor Scott matched that total to pace the Bulldogs. In her second start as the libero, Alex Scott finished with a match-leading13 digs while sophomore middle Lainey Wyman paced MSU at the net with two blocks.
Missouri controlled play at the net and finished the day with a 12-2 edge in total team blocking. Melissa Hartsel had six knock-downs and Lisa Henning backed a match-high 14 kills with five blocks.
"I was pleased with our improved overall play and in a tough environment against a very talented Missouri team," said Jenny Hazelwood. "Our outside hitters were solid today. Dani (McCree) had a breakthrough match. I loved how she stayed confident after struggling at Kentucky Friday night. Missouri does a great job at the net and they were tough to hit against. "
Hazelwood also singled out the play of freshman libero-turned-setter Roxanne McVey, who dished out 34 assists in her second start as the Bulldog setter. "She's getting so much more confident in her new role and it shows with our overall team play."
Missouri broke open a close contest with a 6-0 run in the opening set en route to a 25-15 decision. But the Bulldogs got their offense on track and made for a competitive second stanza. State totaled 15 kills, six by Taylor Scott, and hit at a .294 clip. Sarah Nielsen third kill of the set made drew the Bulldogs to within a point at 20-19 before the Tigers closed the frame with a 5-2 run.
State reeled off four quick points to open the third set and built out a lead of 12-6. But the Tigers overcame the impressive State start, pulling even at 14-14 and breaking free of a 15-15 deadlock with a 7-0 run. Lisa Henning had five of her match-leading 14 kills in the final stanza.
State finished the afternoon with a 37-36 edge in kills, out-killing an SEC opponent for the first time in nine league matches and the fourth time overall.
The match marked the second meeting on the volleyball court between the two schools and the first since Missouri joined the southeastern Conference for the 20012-13 season.Mississippi State returns to action on the MSU campus this weekend, hosting South Carolina (Oct. 19, 7 p.m.) and Arkansas (Oct. 21 - 1:30 p.m.) in matches at Humphrey Coliseum.