From wire reports
Mississippi State reached Friday night’s game with LSU thanks to a 49-39 win against South Carolina late Thursday.
The Lady Bulldogs (22-8) trailed 18-0 after an atrocious start in which they missed their first 17 shots, but they trailed only 26-22 at halftime.
“We surely dug a hole, but we kept digging to get out of it,” Mississippi State coach Sharon Fanning said.
Her team won its opening-round SEC tournament game for the first time since 2004.
Alexis Rack led MSU with 12 points. The sixth-seeded Lady Bulldogs took their first lead of the game (29-28) with 17:31 remaining in the second half.
Mississippi State shot 32 percent from the field. South Carolina shot 30 percent, including 4-of-23 in the second half. The teams combined for 42 turnovers.
“To come out and score 18 points … was kind of a foreign thing for us. We had people scoring for us who didn’t score a lot for us during the year,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. “We just didn’t have enough bodies to sustain. We lost the game off of rebounding, to be quite honest.”
Mississippi State finished with 16 offensive rebounds.
Jewel May and Lakeisha Sutton led South Carolina with nine points each.
“The second half our shots weren’t falling, but we kept shooting, trying to get the ball to the shooters and we kept trying to get the ball in but it wasn’t falling,” Sutton said.
It was the fifth time this season that Mississippi State held an opponent under 40 points – all wins.
n Thursday’s Box score, Page 2B