The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Top-seeded Bulldogs fall to Oregon in Elite 8

297 days ago
Mississippi State Athletics

PORTLAND, Ore. - Mississippi State's women's basketball team saw its historic season come to an end with an 88-84 loss to Oregon in the Elite Eight on Sunday afternoon in Portland, Oregon.

Teaira McCowan closed her career with her 70th double-double, recording 19 points and 15 rebounds. She finished as the all-time leading rebounder in NCAA Tournament history with 240 boards in 19 games, two fewer than the previous record holder.

Jazzmun Holmes capped her final game by matching her career best with 13 assists and no turnovers while scoring 15 points. Anriel Howard finished with 18 points and six rebounds, and Andra Espinoza-Hunter and Jordan Danberry each scored 12.

"I just thought my team was just phenomenal," head coach Vic Schaefer said. "I mean, I couldn't be prouder of them for how hard they played, how hard they fought against a really good team. I've watched a ton of film. I've not seen [Oregon] make that many threes in a while. They made shots today. You got to take your hat off to them. When you make shots in a big game like that, you got to tip your hat to them."

The Bulldogs (33-3) were slow out of the gate, turning the ball over on a shot clock violation at the 6:34 mark of the first quarter. That seemed to spark the offense, however, as State immediately went on an 8-0 run to take a 15-8 lead. The Ducks (33-4) responded with an 11-4 run of their own to tie the game at 19 a piece, before Danberry sank two free throws to lead at the break.

The two teams traded baskets in the second quarter, but Oregon got the upper hand, taking a 35-33 lead with 3:44 left in the half. Out of a timeout, Espinoza-Hunter drilled a three-pointer to regain the lead. Oregon would outscore MSU, 5-2, down the stretch, but the Bulldogs kept the Ducks from making another field goal for the final 3:27 of the half to pull within two points at halftime.

Oregon began to take control in the third quarter. The Ducks held the Dawgs scoreless for the first 3:44 of play to build a 44-38 lead, their largest of the night to that point. State fought back to tie the game at 50-50 on a jumper by Danberry with 4:07 left in the quarter then regained the lead at the 2:35 mark, up 54-53.

State picked up eight fouls in the third quarter and surrendered seven points at the free throw line after committing just one foul in the first half. The score was tied 59-59 entering the final 10 minutes.

Oregon scored the first five points of the quarter and never trailed again, but the Ducks also couldn't pull away. State never trailed by more than seven in the fourth. With 2:08 to play, Bre'Amber Scott took a charge with the Dawgs trailing, 78-75, to give MSU a chance to tie.

After failing to score on that possession, Sabrina Ionescu and Maite Cazorla both knocked down threes for the Ducks to take a seven-point lead with 35 seconds left. The Bulldogs began fouling, but couldn't recover, resulting in the final score.

MSU closes the season as back-to-back SEC Champions. The senior class of 2019, finished their careers with the program's all-time wins record at 132 and advanced to the Sweet 16 every year along with two National Championship appearances.