STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Victoria Vivians scored 23 points, Teaira McCowan added 21 points and 18 rebounds and Mississippi State earned a hard-fought 71-56 win over Oklahoma State in the second round of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Monday night.
Top-seeded Mississippi State (34-1) also got 17 points from Morgan William, who hit several crucial baskets throughout the game. McCowan scored 17 of her 21 points in the second half and shot 8 of 12 from the field.
Oklahoma State (21-11) was hurt when starting guard Loryn Goodwin picked up her fourth foul with 4:39 remaining in the third quarter. She stayed in the game, but her defensive presence was limited and that was around the time that Mississippi State went on a 10-2 lead to open up a 51-43 advantage.
William made a jumper a few seconds before the third-quarter buzzer to give the Bulldogs their biggest lead in the game at 55-45 and they slowly pulled away.
Oklahoma State, the No. 9 seed, was led by Kaylee Jensen’s 18 points. Goodwin added 14 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Oklahoma State pushed to an early 20-12 lead late in the first quarter, but Mississippi State rallied and the rest of the first half was extremely close. The Bulldogs took a 35-34 advantage into halftime.
Oklahoma State: The Cowgirls were in the game for most of three quarters, but couldn’t match the Bulldogs down the stretch. Jensen and Goodwin were very good in their final college games, but it wasn’t enough.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs won thanks to a gritty defensive effort in the second half and huge games from Vivians, McCowan and William.
Mississippi State advances to face N.C. State at 6:00 p.m. on Friday in the Sweet 16 in Kansas City.