GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Teaira McCowan scored 13 of her 15 points in the final 13 minutes and No. 6 Mississippi State beat LSU 78-61 on Friday night to reach the SEC Tournament semifinals for the second consecutive season.
The Bulldogs (28-3) trailed 39-37 with less than three minutes to play in the third quarter when the 6-foot-7 McCowan, voted the conference's sixth woman of the year, and fellow reserve Ketara Chapel fueled a 21-12 run over the next eight minutes to move in front. Mississippi State needed every bit of their inside play because all-SEC first-team selection Victoria Vivians was held to five points -- the first time in 24 games she did not reach double figures.
The Bulldogs will play either No. 23 Missouri or Texas A&M in Saturday's semifinals.
Raigyne Moncrief, the SEC's defensive player of the year, powered the Tigers' offense with a career-high 25 points.
Morgan William led the Bulldogs with 21 points. Chapel added 10, all in the second half.
The Bulldogs ended a two-game slide in the week's final season to come into the SEC Tournament as the second seed. They'll need Vivians to find her game if they hope to keep going. Vivians, a junior, made only one of six shots.
LSU (20-11) trailed only 56-51 after Moncrief's jumper with 5:23 remaining, but the Tigers wore down after that.
LSU: The Tigers have enjoyed a turnaround season, a 10-win team a year ago that's doubled that number and, most likely, locked up an NCAA Tournament spot. LSU wasn't resting on that against the highly favored Bulldogs. The Tigers played tight defense and pushed the pace against Mississippi State. LSU used an 8-2 run at the start of the second quarter to tie it and remained close the rest of the opening half. The Tigers tightened their defense against Vivians, who missed all four of her shots and committed four turnovers the first two quarters.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs' slide continued somewhat in the first two periods against LSU. Mississippi State followed a 60-percent shooting first quarter with a 27 percent second quarter. The Bulldogs made just one of eight shots to start the second period. Hard to watch from a team that's second in SEC scoring at better than 75 points a game this season.
LSU awaits a likely NCAA Tournament bid.
Mississippi State awaits its semifinal opponent, No. 23 Missouri or Texas A&M.