McCowan lifts No. 5 Mississippi State into SEC finals

MSU is 29-2.

Posted: Mar 9, 2019 6:14 PM
Updated: Mar 9, 2019 8:33 PM

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Teaira McCowan had 27 points and 16 rebounds to lead No. 5 Mississippi State into the Southeastern Conference tournament finals for a fourth straight season with a 71-56 victory over Missouri on Saturday.

Anriel Howard finished with 19 points and 10 boards as the Bulldogs (29-2) pulled away in the final two quarters to beat the only SEC opponent they've lost to the past two regular seasons.

Mississippi State will face 10th-seeded Arkansas for the SEC tournament title.

Sophie Cunningham scored a season-high 33 points for Missouri (23-10). She had five of the Tigers' nine 3-pointers before fouling out.

When Missouri (23-10) cut a 16-point lead down to 43-38 off Cunningham's 11 straight points late in the third quarter, SEC player of the year McCowan powered an 11-3 surge with eight points.

Mississippi State lost the previous three tournament finals, all to South Carolina. The four-time defending SEC tournament champion Gamecocks were beaten by Arkansas in Friday's quarterfinals.

As they did in their quarterfinal win over Tennessee, the Bulldogs started slowly and with Cunningham scoring seven points for the Tigers, found themselves down 14-11. But as in the 83-68 win over the Lady Vols, the Bulldogs got it rolling in the second quarter.

McCowan was front and center in the charge with four baskets, all from close in. Howard did her thing from the outside, too, with a 3-pointer and another jumper to put Mississippi State up by 13.

McCowan accomplished her 26th game this season with double figure points and rebounds with 12 points and 10 boards by halftime.

When Missouri upset the Bulldogs last month — Mississippi State's only SEC regular-season loss the past two seasons — it used its pressure to force Mississippi State into 24 turnovers. This time, the Bulldogs easily moved up and down the court and had just three miscues the first 20 minutes.

BIG PICTURE

Missouri: The Tigers, led by three-time all-SEC first team selection Cunningham, will be a difficult out wherever they're sent when NCAA women's tournament selections are announced March 18. Cunningham was her team's lone double-digit scorer. Missouri will need more production from the others if it hopes to stick around in the postseason.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs entered this week with a mission and have relentlessly moved forward toward their first-ever SEC tournament title. Howard, the Texas A&M grad transfer, has turned her game up another notch and seemed poised to take Mississippi State on a strong run through the NCAAs.

UP NEXT

Missouri will await a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Mississippi State plays either No. 15 Texas A&M or Arkansas in the championship Sunday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 539829

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798271529
Mobile41261809
Madison35132506
Tuscaloosa25915455
Shelby25294249
Montgomery24705593
Baldwin21392310
Lee15987172
Calhoun14569319
Morgan14422280
Etowah13918353
Marshall12275225
Houston10641282
Elmore10147206
Limestone10065151
St. Clair9946245
Cullman9761194
Lauderdale9457243
DeKalb8865188
Talladega8339176
Walker7260278
Autauga7001108
Jackson6836112
Blount6771139
Colbert6320135
Coffee5578118
Dale4876113
Russell445138
Chilton4369113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394777
Chambers3590123
Dallas3568153
Clarke351461
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302698
Winston275773
Bibb264564
Geneva254078
Marengo249665
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale223978
Butler219069
Fayette212662
Henry189643
Cherokee184645
Randolph182442
Monroe178141
Washington167739
Macon161150
Clay157157
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143236
Lowndes140553
Wilcox127430
Bullock123242
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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