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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: 473413

Reported Deaths: 9214
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32339474
Hinds30703575
DeSoto29814346
Jackson23263336
Rankin21111358
Lee14600217
Madison14043265
Jones13165218
Forrest12953233
Lauderdale11418297
Lowndes10249175
Lamar10048128
Pearl River8737209
Lafayette8078136
Hancock7324111
Washington6837147
Oktibbeha6820118
Neshoba6404201
Monroe6372158
Warren6326161
Pontotoc610393
Panola6071124
Bolivar6016143
Marshall5972118
Union564086
Pike5491133
Lincoln5232130
Alcorn520888
George457868
Scott451993
Leflore4401140
Prentiss437276
Itawamba436198
Tippah436180
Simpson4268111
Copiah425586
Wayne424863
Tate4234100
Adams4219114
Yazoo415886
Sunflower4088104
Covington407391
Marion4032100
Leake393185
Coahoma388198
Newton364474
Grenada3517101
Stone345657
Tishomingo324888
Attala321185
Jasper310262
Winston300391
Clay288273
Chickasaw282164
Clarke277487
Calhoun259739
Holmes259485
Smith243947
Yalobusha216747
Tallahatchie215649
Walthall205557
Greene204045
Lawrence203831
Perry196453
Amite193751
Webster191941
Noxubee174538
Montgomery169853
Jefferson Davis165541
Carroll159937
Tunica148434
Benton139433
Kemper137439
Claiborne125634
Choctaw124925
Humphreys123337
Franklin115227
Quitman101825
Wilkinson99835
Jefferson86632
Sharkey62120
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 768301

Reported Deaths: 13209
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1093481727
Mobile699891179
Madison48418589
Baldwin35707452
Shelby35193291
Tuscaloosa33029512
Montgomery32582664
Lee21908204
Calhoun20140377
Morgan19351318
Etowah18583433
Marshall17272259
Houston16139353
St. Clair14956276
Limestone14129180
Cullman14069235
Elmore14010245
Lauderdale13128272
Talladega12399215
DeKalb11890229
Walker10231312
Autauga9493127
Blount9418149
Jackson9115136
Coffee8646161
Colbert8324169
Dale8284159
Escambia6456106
Tallapoosa6394168
Covington6313157
Chilton6243133
Russell591654
Franklin563597
Chambers5240132
Marion4628115
Dallas4626178
Clarke451471
Pike450091
Geneva4252106
Winston407987
Lawrence4046102
Bibb396177
Barbour338968
Marengo320981
Monroe311547
Butler309783
Pickens298769
Randolph294055
Henry293856
Hale286081
Cherokee279850
Fayette272271
Washington243545
Crenshaw232265
Clay221561
Macon214454
Cleburne209748
Lamar187839
Conecuh177139
Lowndes169056
Coosa163631
Wilcox154335
Bullock147142
Perry134235
Sumter123335
Greene119241
Choctaw72325
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Occasional areas of rain and some scattered thunderstorms will be in store for most of the weekend. However, good news by later sections of next week, as cooler and drier air will work its way into our weather forecast.
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