VICTORIA, British Columbia - No. 10 Mississippi State punched its ticket to the Greater Victoria Invitational championship game with an 83-58 win against Green Bay on Friday night at CARSA Performance Gym.
The Bulldogs (8-0) will take on the winner of No. 3 Stanford vs. No. 18 Syracuse on Saturday night at 9:30 p.m. CT.
"We talk about having opportunities to play for championships here at Mississippi State," said head coach Vic Schaefer. "We will have a chance to win a championship here in this tournament. That is what we came here for. I am excited for the opportunity. Both teams are well coached. Two different styles but big. They are really big."
After a slow start, Mississippi State took over the game on both ends of the floor in the second half, outscoring Green Bay, 45-22, after halftime. After the Phoenix (4-3) knocked down six 3-pointers in the first half, State held them without another one for the remainder of the game and allowed them to shoot just 26 percent from the field.
On offense, Jordan Danberry and Rickea Jackson were lights out, combining for 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting to allow the Bulldogs to pull away. Danberry finished with a game-high 21 points, four assists and three rebounds. Jackson added a career-high 18 points while going 7-of-9 from the floor.
"I just think our defense and our pressure wears on people," said Schaefer about the halftime adjustments. "It wore on them tonight. I don't know what the final total was on turnovers, but they had nine at halftime. I thought our execution on the half court offensively was really good. I think defensively holding them to 22 points was pretty good."."
Chloe Bibby also added 18 points behind four 3-pointers to go along with six rebounds. Jessika Carter narrowly missed a double-double with 12 boards, eight points and four blocks.
Mississippi State once again won the battle in the paint, outscoring the Phoenix 40-24 down low and outrebounding them 36-30. MSU also recorded eight blocks, seven steals and forced 20 turnovers that resulted in 26 points for the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State gained the early advantage, using 10 points off seven turnovers forced to take a 21-17 lead after the first quarter. Bibby sparked the offense with seven points behind a pair of threes.
The Bulldogs struggled on offense in the second stanza, shooting just 30 percent from the floor. On the other end, Green Bay knocked went 4-of-6 from three and shot a .583 clip. With 14 offensive boards and 12 second-chance points, State was able to take a 38-36 lead into halftime.
After the Phoenix got a quick basket to begin the third period, State used a 12-0 run and held Green Bay scoreless for nearly five minutes to take an insurmountable lead. Jackson fueled the Bulldogs' offense, dropping 10 points in the frame to give MSU a 60-48 lead going into the fourth quarter.
MSU built on its lead with another strong showing in the final frame to put the game away. MSU shot 60 percent from the field in the period while holding the Phoenix to just 3-of-11 shooting. For the second straight stanza, Green Bay was unable to connect on a long ball.