Teaira McCowan (Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page)

South Carolina defeats Mississippi State 59-49 to win the SEC Tournament Championship

South Carolina defeats Mississippi State 59-49 to win the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament Championship.

South Carolina jumped out to a 10-2 lead during the first few minutes of the game but Mississippi State responded with their own run and earned a 15-14 lead with nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds remaining on the clock in the second period.

“The character of this team showed during the first five minutes of the game,” said Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer. “They came back and got ahead 15-14 after being behind 10-2.”

Mississippi State sophomore center Teaira McCowan, who led the Bulldogs in scoring with 15 points, scored four of the points during the 13-4 run by the Bulldogs.

From that point on, the two teams went back and forth for the rest of the second quarter. The Gamecocks finally pulled out to a three-point lead, 29-26, going into halftime. 

The two teams battled throughout the third quarter but the Bulldogs pulled out to a five-point lead, 45-40, during the last two minutes and 42 seconds of the quarter behind two layups by Teaira McCowan. 

But South Carolina opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run to pull ahead 48-45 with 8:17 to go in the quarter.  A’ja Wilson scored five of her 15 points during the run.

Mississippi State’s Morgan William scored a two-pointer at the 6:42 mark to pull the Bulldogs within one, 48-47.

South Carolina then went on a 11-2 run during the remainder of the fourth quarter to earn the 59-49 victory over the Bulldogs.

“We played very well for thirty-three and a half minutes,” said Schaefer. “We just didn’t execute down the stretch.

“But I am really proud of our effort. It just wasn’t good enough.”

Joining Teaira McCowan in double figures for Mississippi State was Morgan William who scored 14.

South Carolina also had two players in double figures, Kaela Davis with 23 and A’ja Wilson with 15.

Mississippi State shot 35.6% from the field, including an 0-of-15 night from the three-point line. They were 7-of-7 at the charity stripe.

South Carolina shot 47.9%, including hitting 4-of-8 three-point shots. They were 9-of-11 from the free throw line.

Both teams are expected to host the first two games of the upcoming NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament with South Carolina likely earning one of the four coveted No. 1 overall seeds and Mississippi State being picked as a No. 2 seed.

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