NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - The No. 2 Mississippi State women's basketball team will be hoping to cut another set of nets Sunday afternoon.
For a third-straight season, coach Vic Schaefer's Bulldogs are in the championship game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, thanks to a 70-55 win over Texas A&M Saturday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena.
The win comes on the same day senior Victoria Vivians and junior Teaira McCowan were named to the national ballot for the Wooden Award. MSU and UConn are the only schools with multiple representatives on the 15-player list.
Top-seeded MSU (32-0) will face either No. 2 seed South Carolina or No. 3 seed Georgia in the tournament championship game. The game is set for a 3:30 p.m. start on ESPN2.
MSU is bidding to become the first SEC team since the 1997-98 Tennessee squad to finish the regular season and conference tournament with an undefeated record.
"Awfully proud of my kids," MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. "Texas A&M just came out and punched us and floored us. I am proud at how we responded there at the end of the first quarter and our time in the huddle before we took the floor for the second quarter. We didn't have any loud voices. The seniors just showed leadership. Texas A&M has been playing as well as anybody in the country.
"For us to weather the storm, they really came out and were punching and we were staggering around. From the second quarter on, we competed and played like we are capable of playing." Only had five turnovers. We have been here before. We just want it to end differently this time."
Vivians led the Bulldogs with 22 points. Morgan William added 15 points, while Roshunda Johnson had 13 points. McCowan had a team-high 13 rebounds and four blocked shots.
William had five assists, while both Johnson and McCowan had a pair of steals.
The Bulldogs took their fifth-straight from the Aggies, thanks in large part to a dominating second quarter.
Texas A&M led by as many as eight in the first quarter and later led 18-15 at the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs surged ahead with a 16-2 run. The Aggies were held to two field goals over the final 7:12 of the half.
Three straight baskets by William highlighted the run. The Bulldogs got a huge lift from Chloe Bibby off the bench.
MSU led 36-28 at halftime.
The Bulldogs started slowly offensively in the third quarter. The Aggies closed within five at 38-33 with 7:22 left in the third quarter. The Bulldogs followed with a 10-0 run. A 3-pointer by Johnson ran the MSU lead to 50-35 with 4:26 left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs carried a 54-40 lead into the final quarter.
For the contest, MSU hit 28 of 65 shots from the field (43.1 percent), 8 of 18 shots from 3-point range (44.4 percent) and 6 of 10 shots from the foul line (60.0 percent). Texas A&M hit 22 of 59 shots from the field (37.3 percent), 3 of 12 shots from 3-point range (25.0 percent) and 8 of 9 shots from the foul line (88.9 percent).
Texas A&M (24-9) held a 43-32 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 13 assists and five turnovers, while the Aggies had five assists and 16 turnovers.
Texas A&M received 27 points from Chennedy Carter. Anriel Howard had a game-high 17 rebounds, while Khaalia Hillsman had 10 rebounds.
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