54 minutes ago
GREENVILLE, South Carolina –No. 13 seed Texas A&M defeats No. 5 seed Mississippi State, 79-72, in the second round of the SEC Tournament inside Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Thursday.
The Bulldogs retired early in the first quarter, going 7-0 to establish a 14-6 lead. The Aggies nailed a few with a 3-point shot from Aaliyah Patty and Janiah Barker, 16-11, before Mississippi State continued to rack up the points.
Jessika Carter recorded a 5-0 run with a layup and a trio of free throws to widen the gap, 21-11. The Bulldogs took a six-point lead in the second quarter, 25-19, with 10 points from Carter in the first.
Texas A&M picked up the pace and controlled the second quarter, starting with a jump shot from Patty and a 3-pointer from Sydney Bowles to close, 25-24. Jada Malone’s layup gave the Aggies their first lead of the game, 26-25, with over seven minutes left in the half.
Carter committed his second foul with 3:27 left in the first quarter. Texas A&M outscored the Bulldogs 13-4 over the next five minutes.
Texas A&M’s newfound energy topped the Bulldogs with a 12-0 run, extending their lead, 35-25.
However, Mississippi State eventually ended the momentum with just 2:17 left in the half as Ramani Parker scored one, cutting the deficit 10 points, 35-27.
Ahlana Smith worked to get closer to the free throw line, but Barker had one more shot before the halftime buzzer to give the Aggies a seven-point lead at the end of the first half, 37 -30.
The Aggies held the Bulldogs to just five points in the second quarter, the fewest they’ve allowed this season while tying the fewest points Mississippi State has scored in a quarter this season.
The third quarter kicked off with Debreasha Powe’s 3-pointer before Jordan slid the ball in to set up an uncontested layup, putting the Bulldogs from close range, 37-35.
But the Aggies didn’t give up that easily, as Bowles’ third 3-pointer of the game sealed their 7-0 streak and stretched the lead, 44-35, with more than half the quarter remaining.
Smith’s layup and two pairs of free throws from Asianae Johnson brought the Bulldogs within three, 44-41, but the Aggies pulled away even further, 49-41. Mississippi State continued to fight back, coming within three, 49-46, with just 2:28 left in the third quarter.
Bowles remained a threat from beyond the arc, draining two more triples just 31 seconds apart to defend Texas A&M’s 58-51 lead.
After Parker went down in a pair of free throws, Tineya Hylton made two layups in the closing seconds of the third for the Aggies to carry a 62-53 lead into the final quarter.
Mississippi State went on an 11-6 streak in the fourth quarter as Carter contributed six to close the gap, 68-64, with 4:43 left.
But Bowles can’t be stopped, scoring another from long range to put the Aggies away, 73-64.
The Bulldogs remained unfazed as Carter, Hayes and Powe each threw a layup to close for three, 73-70, with 2:01 to go.
McKinzie Green drained another triple from the Aggies before Anastasia Hayes scored the final points of Mississippi State’s game from the free throw line.
Malone’s layup finalized Texas A&M’s 79-72 victory over 5-seeded Mississippi State to advance in the tournament. The Aggies became the first 13 seed to advance to the SEC Quarterfinals.
Mississippi State (20-10, 9-7 SEC) is eliminated from the tournament.
13-seeded Texas A&M (9-19, 2-14 SEC) will face 4-seeded Ole Miss ((22-7, 11-5 SEC) in the quarterfinals of the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament on Friday at 2:00 p.m. ET.