Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

#6 Mississippi St proves to be too much for Lady Vols

#6 Mississippi St proves to be too much for Lady Vols

Mechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women's college basketball, and other college sports for espnW.

Robert Woodard II #12 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs shoots the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena on January 22, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky. Mississippi State goes down on Saturday afternoon in Starkville, Mississippi, and this bout brings with it an entirely different dynamic than the first.

Said Tennessee coach Holly Warlick, "Mississippi State is a great basketball team".

Sunday at pregame breakfast, Schaefer reminded his Bulldogs of how good they could be if everyone was focused and on fire. In the fourth quarter, things get a little tiresome. The Bulldogs won 91-63 - handing Tennessee its worst SEC loss - and showed they are in the mix of teams that could be headed to Tampa, Florida, in April. With the loss, they fell to 15-8 on the year and 4-6 in the SEC, while Mississippi State improved to 22-1 and 10-0- in the SEC.

The Bulldogs have lost three of their past five games, but the chance to upset the Wildcats could provide the season-defining victory they need. ESPN will carry the 42nd meeting between the Lady Vols and Bulldogs, as they convene at Humphrey Coliseum for a 1 p.m. CT (2 ET) matinee.

"I think they have a great opportunity", Warlick said. "You can't make a lot of mistakes".

"We're in a position to win a championship", Schaefer said.

The Tennessee Lady Vols scrapped to within three in the third quarter but couldn't overcome a No. 6 Mississippi State team that shot an impressive 52.2 percent on the day.

Mississippi State (16-7, 4-6) led 17-15 midway through the first half, but Tyler Herro nailed a contested 3-pointer to give Kentucky the lead.

Then, led by both their guards and posts, the Bulldogs took off and left the Lady Vols in the dust.

Mississippi State took advantage of Westbrook's absence.

It's just the fifth time the Bulldogs have defeated the Lady Vols.

At the mid-point of the SEC season, the Cats are 1 game behind undefeated Tennessee, tied with LSU at 8-1. They are the only team to play in every tournament since it began in 1982. So far this season, the Bulldogs have lost just twice at home this season, to rival MS, but being able to split this two-game homestand with LSU and Kentucky will be vital to the Bulldogs' at-large hopes. He said he isn't overly concerned about his team scoring 68 and 65 points the last two games. Jordan Danberry, the fastest player on the floor, scored 20 points on 10 of 15 shooting, passed out four assists and did not turn the ball over.

Jackson had suffered a performance lull as well after hitting double figures in 10 of her first 13 games, including a 27-point effort at Auburn. Well, they waited until the fourth quarter to do that here. McCowan had her 18th double-double (57th of her career) against Alabama despite attempting only four field goals.

A 3-point play by Holmes ran the lead to 28-17.

Mississippi State's Anriel Howard had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

There's still work to be done, but Mississippi State made a statement against the Lady Vols.

"I think he's the best player in the country, but not like he played today", Calipari said. "Man, did they push".

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