SEC 4-peat: Gamecocks snap Mississippi State's streak at 32 - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

SEC 4-peat: Gamecocks snap Mississippi State's streak at 32

(Source: @GamecockWBB) (Source: @GamecockWBB)

By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A'ja Wilson helped eighth-ranked South Carolina become the first Southeastern Conference women's program to win four consecutive tournament titles Sunday, snapping the nation's longest winning streak at 32 with a 62-51 upset of No. 2 Mississippi State.

Wilson scored 16 points, and the Gamecocks beat Mississippi State yet again with a title on the line. South Carolina beat the Bulldogs last April for the program's first national championship, and now the Gamecocks (26-6) have their third straight SEC tournament title at Mississippi State's expense.

Mississippi State (32-1) had not lost since that national title game, coming into the SEC tournament final with the Bulldogs' first regular season championship and hoping a third try at the tournament title would be the charm.

The SEC's best 3-point shooters struggled outside the arc, and the Bulldogs couldn't overcome South Carolina's dominance in the paint with Teaira McCowan limited by foul trouble most of the first half.

Tyasha Harris added 14 points for South Carolina, Mikiah Herbert Harrigan had 13 and Bianca Jackson 11.

Victoria Vivians led Mississippi State with 17 points, and Morgan William had 10. McCowan, who came in averaging 18.1 points per game, was limited to six points.

Wilson came off the bench for the third straight game, checking in with 6:27 left in the first quarter. The three-time SEC player of the year quickly scored and stole the ball to spark the Gamecocks to six quick points and the lead. Herbert Harrigan led the Gamecocks with 11 points.

Bulldogs coach Vic Schaefer kept McCowan on the bench for all but four minutes of the first half with two fouls. Without her in the middle, Mississippi State hit only 1 of 11 shots overall and nothing after Jazzmun Holmes' jumper with 8:21 to go in the quarter.

The Gamecocks took advantage with nine straight points to push their lead out to 12 - the same lead they held Feb. 5 in Starkville before losing 67-53 to the Bulldogs. They led 30-19 at halftime.

Mississippi State shot much better in the third quarter but never get closer than five with Wilson scoring eight in the quarter.

The Bulldogs rallied from a 12-point deficit Feb. 5 to beat South Carolina 67-53 in Starkville. That day, they outscored South Carolina 28-9 in the fourth quarter. Not with this title on the line. Wilson capped six straight points for the Gamecocks to give them a 56-42 lead with 5:34 left - the biggest margin Misissippi State has faced all season.

In the fourth, the Gamecocks didn't let Mississippi State get closer than eight as they hit 7 of 11 to finish off the win.

BIG PICTURE

South Carolina: The Gamecocks outrebounded the Bulldogs 38-23 and had a 36-20 edge scoring in the paint.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs shot 39.8 percent outside the arc during the regular season, best in the SEC and ninth nationally. But they matched their season-low with three made 3s and had their worst shooting at 15.8 percent from 3.

UP NEXT

South Carolina: A likely No. 2 seed for the defending national champ when the NCAA Tournament bracket is announced March 12.

Mississippi State: A No. 1 seed.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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