Gamecocks Fall at #7/6 Mississippi State
STARKVILLE, Miss. –In its fourth top-10 game of the season, #15/20 South Carolina women’s basketball fell to #7/6 Mississippi State (17-1, 5-0 SEC) 89-74 in Starkville Thursday night. The Gamecocks (12-5, 4-1 SEC) shot an impressive 58.6 percent from the floor in the first half and entered the fourth quarter within one point, but saw the Bulldogs’ rebounding and free throw shooting deliver a score not indicative of the competitiveness of the game.
Te’a Cooper led the Gamecocks with 27 points while tying her season high with six assists and grabbed five rebounds in 38 minutes. Tyasha Harris tied her career high of four threes in the game, sinking 4-of-8 from distance, finishing with 17 points and four assists while playing all 40 minutes. Mikiah Herbert Harrigan battled through foul trouble to finish with 12 points, her fifth-straight game in double figures.
The opening quarter was a back and forth affair with the Gamecocks using back-to-back triples from Harris to take an early 8-6 lead. South Carolina went on to hit each of its first six threes and shot 66.7 percent from the floor in the opening quarter. Despite 11 points from Cooper in the opening quarter, which included a buzzer-beating three to end the period, South Carolina trailed 26-23 after 10 minutes.
Carolina continued to shoot well from the floor in the second quarter, stretching out an 8-0 run that started in the first quarter to tie the game on an and-one from Cooper. Later in the quarter, a 7-0 Gamecock run started with a Bianca Jackson three and was extended by jumpers from Harris and Cooper to give the Gamecocks their largest lead of the first half at six points. Mississippi State used a 10-0 run and scored 14 of the last 18 points of the first half to take a 48-43 advantage into the locker room.
The Bulldogs extended their lead in the third quarter to as many as eight points, but the Gamecocks kept responding. Despite foul trouble, Herbert Harrigan gave the Gamecocks a spark in the third quarter, hitting a pair of 3-pointers to help the Gamecocks pull back from the eight-point decifit in the quarter. After a missed free throw with under 10 seconds remaining in the quarter, Cooper was able to drill her second buzzer beater of the game to pull the Gamecocks within one heading into the final 10 minutes.
Mississippi State used an 11-2 run at the start of the fourth quarter to take back control and kept Carolina at bay the rest of the game.
The Gamecocks remained close in the opening portion of the fourth quarter, but a three from Andra Espinoza-Hunter extended the Bulldogs lead to eight with 7:16 to go, helping keep the Gamecocks at bay for the remainder of the game.
Mississippi State sank 20-of-21 shots from the free throw line.
- Herbert Harrigan’s pair of threes in the second quarter gave her a new career high in threes in a game.
- Cooper’s 27 points is the most any Gamecock has scored since Cooper scored 31 points against Drake (Nov. 24).
- South Carolina finished 10-of-25 from distance against the Bulldogs, the 10 triples are the most the Gamecocks have hit against an SEC-opponent this season.
- Harris’ four threes matches a season high for any Gamecock this season, and also tied her career high, originally set against Florida on Feb. 11, 2018.
- Herbert Harrigan’s five-straight double-figure games is the longest streak by any Gamecock this season.
The Gamecocks (12-5, 4-1 SEC) return home on Mon., Jan. 21, to take on Missouri at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Carolina will then take a week off before returning to action on Mon., Jan. 28, against Vanderbilt at home at 7 p.m.