By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State continues its run through the Women’s National Invitation Tournament today, hosting its fourth-straight game.
The Bulldogs will take on South Florida an the Elite Eight contest at 5 p.m. It is MSU’s third appearance in the quarterfinals and first since the field expanded to 64 teams.
“We’re just excited to have a chance to play on March 30,” said MSU coach Vic Schaefer. “These young ladies have worked awfully hard to put themselves in this position.”
The Bulldogs (22-13) are two wins shy of a school record for victories in a single season.
State rallied back from a 14-point deficit in the second half against Auburn on Thursday night for a 59-54 victory. The Bulldogs received 20 points from Kendra Grant in 25 minutes off the bench and Martha Alwal notched her 12th double-double of the year with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Alwal is averaging 14.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.7 blocks per game in the WNIT. The 6-foot-4 junior needs one more block to break Chanel Mokango’s single-season record of 97.
“She’s still developing,” Schaefer said of Alwal. “I think Martha has a top end that’s nowhere in sight.”
Savannah Carter (12.0), Breanna Richardson (11.7) and Grant (11.0) are all scoring double figures in the WNIT for the Bulldogs as well.
South Florida is 22-12 and has won nine of its last 10. The Bulls advanced to the Elite Eight with a 74-59 victory over George Washington on Thursday.
The Bulls have four starters scoring in double figures in the WNIT, led by Ukrainian senior guard Inga Orekhova scoring 17 averaging per game.
The winner of today’s game will advance to face either Bowling Green or Rutgers in the semifinals.