After the win over Mizzou, Coach Blair talked about playing with house money. It was fun while it lasted, but we all know the house wins in the long run. There’s not a lot to say about the game itself because Miss State took control early and the Ags were never able to mount any kind of rally to get within striking distance.
MSU scored first. The Ags led briefly at 5-4 when Taylor Cooper hit a kick out 3 pointer, but the Bulldogs regained the lead with a 6-0 run, and would never relinquish it. The Bulldogs showed for the second night in a row that players other than their offensive stat leaders are more than capable of stepping up.
18-9 MSU after 1
Khaalia got her second foul at the 6:49 mark and had to go to the bench. Walnatia Wright got her first significant time of the tourney and Miss State didn't take advantage as much as I thought they would.
34-20 MSU at halftime.
The Bulldogs started the second half with a 9-0 run. Khaalia broke the run with a bucket in the paint but Danni got her third foul right after that with 6:21 left in the third. By the media timeout MSU had doubled up the Ags 48-24, and Danni had picked up her 4th foul. Given the deficit, Blair left her in the game until the final minute when he brought in Jasmine Williams.
54-32 MSU after 3
Danni cut the lead to 20 and Khaalia got a steal, but Danni fouled out with 9:10 to go on a charging call. Khaalia was called for 3 consecutive fouls in the span of 23 seconds to join Danni on the bench with 7:37 remaining.
The lead would hover around 20 as Vic subbed liberally to rest his starters for the final. After Alyssa Michalke subbed in for Tyce with a minute to go, Jasmine Williams got the only FG from the A&M bench in the 3 tourney games with 37 seconds left (Jasmine Lumpkin had scored on a pair of FTs with 4:03 left).
Final Score: MSU 66, A&M 50
We’ve known since before the season that S. Carolina and Miss State were on a different level than the rest of the SEC. The top two seeds will play in the finals for a lot of reasons. The previous meetings showed that A&M could upset Miss State if everything goes right, but it would require an off night for the Bulldogs and everything to go right for the Ags. They’re the better team this year.
- Despite playing only 30 minutes, Danni led the Ags with 14 points. Looking at the box score, it’s striking that Williams only missed one FG attempt (4-5). The problem was that the Bulldogs were keeping her from getting looks and they turned her over 5 times. Anriel had 12 points on 4-13 shooting. Curtyce had 10, going 3-10. Khaalia was held below 10 for only the second time this season, as foul trouble limited her to 26 minutes.
- The box score shows Knox with 3 assists, which gives her a season total of 293. There appears to have been some confusion about whether she broke Martha Monk’s SEC record. Coach Blair said so in the post-game and @aggiewbb tweeted it. But the record is 294.
- Miss State played incredibly well, so I’m not sure we beat them even on a better day for the Ags. Dominique Dillingham led the Bulldogs with 14 points. Morgan William and Victoria Vivians were also in double figures. What doesn’t show up in the box score is their D. It wasn’t so much a pressing D like what undid the Ags at the end of the regular season. It was just hustling straight up man defense that challenged everything.
- Coach Blair noted this stat: The 5 MSU starters committed zero turnovers.
Up next: Selection Monday
- Monday March 13 at 7PM
There’s usually a watch party at the Cox-McFerrin Center on the S side of Reed. The Ags are likely to be a 6 seed, which gives us an outside chance of hosting the first two rounds if Stanford ends up as a 3 seed. The Cardinal are hosting the Pac12 gymnastics championships on the same weekend as the start of March Madness, so they will be the high seed on the road. Charlie Creme’s latest Bracketology has this scenario, but what happens around the country could easily move things around on the S curve.