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No. 9 Mississippi State beats LSU 79-49 to reach SEC semis

Rickea Jackson scored 19 of her 23 points in the second half and No. 9 Mississippi State pulled away to beat LSU 79-49 in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals Friday night.

Posted: Mar 6, 2020 8:23 PM

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Rickea Jackson scored 19 of her 23 points in the second half and No. 9 Mississippi State pulled away to beat LSU 79-49 in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals Friday night.

The defending conference champion Bulldogs (26-5) looked as if they might not last too long this time around, getting outhustled, missing shots and trailing the Tigers (20-10) 23-16 midway through the second quarter.

But Mississippi State closed the period with an exclamation point -- Andra Espinoza-Hunter's 35-footer at the buzzer falling through to give her team a 26-25 lead going into halftime.

The Bulldogs, led by their stellar freshman Jackson and senior Jordan Danberry, kept up the surge and outscored LSU 53-24 in the final 20 minutes.

Danberry had 18 points, 12 coming the last two quarters.

Mississippi State will play No. 16 Kentucky or Tennessee on Saturday for a spot in the tournament final.

Jackson, the 6-foot-2 forward averaging 14.5 points coming in, also finished with 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.

Mississippi State finally broke through to win the SEC tournament title a year ago after losing the previous three championship finals to South Carolina.

But the Bulldogs didn't start with the same fire it showed throughout a year ago as LSU took the fight to them much of the opening half.

The Tigers were ahead 23-16 after Awa Trasi's 3-pointer with 5:15 left before the break.

But after a timeout, the Bulldogs dug in and found their defense as they limited LSU to 1-of-5 shooting and forced two turnovers the rest of the period.

They got a big-time boost by Espinoza-Hunter's long-distance shot as time ran out. Her teammates rushed the junior to celebrate. After a brief official review as both teams left the court, the basket was ruled good to give Mississippi State a lead it would not surrender.

Khayla Pointer had 12 points to lead LSU, which has not advanced to the semifinals here since 2015.

THE BIG PICTURE

LSU: The Tigers crossed a threshhold in Thursday's second-round win over Florida, earning that 20th victory on the season that should remove any remaining doubt about LSU getting into the NCAA Tournament.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs needed a jolt to get them started and Espinoza-Hunter's three did the trick this time. Mississippi State might not have the luxury of waiting on such moments going forward here and in the NCAAs to come. The Bulldogs will need to be sharper earlier if they hope to last when the competition toughens.

UP NEXT

LSU awaits a likely berth in the NCAA Tournament

Mississippi State will play in Saturday's semifinals.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 514171

Reported Deaths: 10285
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34920557
DeSoto33270432
Hinds32652642
Jackson24876391
Rankin22516404
Lee16366245
Madison14932283
Jones14129247
Forrest13785260
Lauderdale12279324
Lowndes11314193
Lamar10663140
Pearl River9720244
Lafayette8855143
Hancock7839132
Washington7553169
Oktibbeha7216138
Monroe7036179
Pontotoc7003109
Warren6872178
Panola6768135
Neshoba6732210
Marshall6686142
Bolivar6451151
Union640898
Pike5933156
Alcorn5887107
Lincoln5533136
George510380
Prentiss505385
Tippah492783
Itawamba4857107
Scott478199
Adams4771125
Tate4765117
Leflore4736144
Copiah457095
Yazoo456692
Simpson4554117
Wayne443172
Covington434695
Sunflower4315106
Marion4279112
Coahoma4238109
Leake414090
Newton395782
Tishomingo384894
Grenada3777109
Stone365766
Jasper340866
Attala338790
Winston317892
Chickasaw316167
Clay312578
Clarke301295
Calhoun285949
Holmes271889
Smith269452
Yalobusha244247
Tallahatchie232053
Greene224749
Walthall221866
Lawrence219141
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster206248
Noxubee188743
Montgomery181857
Carroll174941
Jefferson Davis173843
Tunica163339
Benton153139
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134439
Humphreys132139
Franklin126029
Quitman107628
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845761

Reported Deaths: 16119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161862004
Mobile742411381
Madison53315732
Shelby38351369
Baldwin38104589
Tuscaloosa36052641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25590263
Calhoun22598518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20026518
Marshall18790316
Houston17741425
St. Clair16904358
Limestone16153219
Cullman16067303
Elmore15912294
Lauderdale14991306
Talladega14209299
DeKalb12985269
Walker12067380
Blount10729192
Autauga10526157
Jackson10170194
Coffee9425192
Colbert9341208
Dale9024192
Tallapoosa7273201
Russell708865
Chilton7042170
Escambia6956143
Covington6943195
Franklin6338108
Chambers5785142
Marion5413130
Dallas5295209
Pike5123109
Clarke484886
Lawrence4831129
Winston4780110
Geneva4643136
Bibb434594
Barbour369980
Butler3439100
Marengo342393
Monroe337466
Randolph334867
Pickens333988
Fayette330085
Henry320766
Hale318489
Cherokee318363
Crenshaw260777
Washington256952
Cleburne254560
Lamar251953
Clay251169
Macon245064
Conecuh193162
Coosa185547
Lowndes178268
Wilcox177638
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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