Lady Bulldogs defeat Arkansas; Tennessee next

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (14-14) have advanced to the quarterfinals to meet Tennessee (25-2) on Friday, March 5 at Noon CT in Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tenn., televised on SEC-TV. State defeated Arkansas, 79-74, in the first round to advance, while the regular season champs Tennessee, earned a first round bye.

This marks the second straight year that MSU has faced UT in the SEC Tournament. Last year the Lady Bulldogs fell to the Lady Vols in the semifinals in the last seconds, 76-75.

Guards Tan White and Tiania Burns carried the Lady Bulldogs in the victory over Arkansas with 22 and 21 points respectively. White pulled down eight boards and dished out five assists in the win. Burns, the Nashville native, went 10-for-13 from the field.

The SEC's regular season champs had the first round bye to automatically advance to the second round. UT finished the regular season 25-2 overall for a No. 1 nationally ranking. Three Lady Vols are averaging double digits: first team all-SEC selection Shyra Ely has 14.9 ppg, second team all-SEC selection Shanna Zolman is posting 12.3 ppg and second team all-SEC selection Tasha Butts is recording 10.1 ppg.

Tennessee leads the overall series 22-0. The Lady Vols have defeated MSU three times in the SEC Tournament, including last year's last second semifinal win in Little Rock, Ark., 76-75. The last two SEC Tournament meetings have been decided by three points or less. Despite State holding UT to its fewest points in the series history, the Lady Vols took the meeting earlier this year 61-53 in Starkville.

This marks the ninth time that the Lady Bulldogs have advanced to the quarterfinals in the tournament (2-6). MSU has an 11-24 overall record in tournament play after the defeat over Arkansas. With the win State now has an 8-16 first round record.

The winner of the Mississippi State-Tennessee game will play the winner of Georgia-Florida on Saturday, March 6 at 6 p.m. CT on SEC-TV.

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