Greenville, S.C — The last time no. 2 seed Mississippi State and no. 6 seed Texas A&M met this season, the Bulldogs prevailed 72-67. Once again Mississippi State pushed past TAMU 66-50 and advanced to the SEC Championship.
Both teams took a few minutes to find their stride in Bon Secours Arena. It seemed like each shot was hit or miss -- in fact, in the first quarter, the Bulldogs and Aggies shot 47 and 33 percent, respectively. The quarter was low scoring, too -- the Bulldogs were up 18-9.
Mississippi State succeeded in the post, with 19 rebounds in the first half, led by Breanna Richardson’s five.
The Bulldogs widened the lead by 10 (28-18) with just over 4:00 left in the first half. Another ten point lead -- was this game going to look strikingly similar to the last time the teams played? That lead got even wider at the end of the half as Mississippi State prevailed 34-20.
Aggie fans could be heard saying “don’t give up” from the stands as they trailed 44-22 with 6:21 left in the third. Looks of defeat painted Aggie players faces when small but mighty Morgan William (she’s just 5-foot-5) nailed a jumper just seconds later.
With less than a minute left, the lead was stretched again...this time it was 20 points, 52-32 as Texas A&M struggled to gain footing. It was Mississippi's offensive rebounds that gave them the leg up: they had 14 to the Aggies 5 with a one-quarter left.
Dominique Dillingham dominated all game. She had the most points on both rosters with 14 on the night.
Texas A&M was in trouble when Danni Williams and Khaalia Hillsman both fouled out -- they had 13 and 8 points, respectively. The Aggies play physical, there’s no question about that, but sometimes it’s not good news.
Rebounding sealed the deal for the Bulldogs -- their 35 rebounds propelled them to 21 second-chance points and a 16-point win.
Mississippi State advances to the championship round of the SEC Tournament to face top seeded South Carolina. Last time these teams met, the Gamecocks narrowly snuck past the Bulldogs 64-61.