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Mississippi State Impresses the Nation in Loss to #5 South Carolina

The Bulldogs only lost by 3 points on the road, despite both Okorie and McCowan fouling out, and questionable calls.

NCAA Womens Basketball: American Conference Tournament-USF vs Tulane David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Mississippi State Bulldogs lose a stunner in the final seconds against the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Bulldogs did out rebound South Carolina and had an impressive 19 Offensive Rebounds. The Bulldogs were able to to get a significant lead at various points of the game, but ultimately scoring droughts prevented the team from getting the final punch from SC in Columbia. Overall I am very impressed with this team. This game proves that MSU is not only a legit SEC Power, but they are a Final Four Contender this year. And I am not the only one impressed with MSU’s great play.

As far as South Carolina goes they are a one dimensional team. IF you shut down Coates and Wilson, then you will dominate. You will see UConn dominate this team in a month when they play in Storrs CT. So why couldn’t MSU take care of SC? MSU has a height advantage with McCowan in the lineup, and she certainly did well. Look heres the scary thing about this MSU team. SC played one of its best games of the year, while MSU played with a lot of mistakes, and SC still won only by 3 points. MSU did not take advantage of the FT line when they got there(We will come back to that later), and MSU also missed easy layups that were big game changers. That is where a lot of the offensive rebounds came from as well. Through all the adversity this team went through, this team could have still won. I liked the 3 pointer by Blair at the end. SHe was wide open and she usually nails those. It just wasn’t MSU’s night for a lot of players.

I want to make this point clear before I go any further. Had MSU capitalized on its opportunities at the FT line, made the layups, and have William have her average points. I could go. MSU would have easily won this game. Some of our readers saw the flaws that this SC team has compared to previous years and they were correct. If MSU and SC were to play on a neutral floor, then I would expect MSU to win. If they were to play at the Hump later this year with a Kentucky MBB crowd then the score would not be close. But the SEC Tournament is in Greenville SC, which might as well be hosted in Columbia SC with the amount of SC fans that will be there compared to MSU.

So a lot of people(including myself) were angry on twitter last night about the officiating. And doing a recap of this game without including the controversy in the final minutes of the game would not do this game justice. But before we get into that take a look at the FTs by each team:

  • Mississippi State 3-9
  • South Carolina 21-28

Yes indeed South Carolina made 12 more free throws than MSU attempted. THe main problem was that MSU was not getting the same calls that SC was getting inside. That is why Wilson and Coates both has 2 and 3 fouls respectively while both McCowan and Okorie fouled out early in the 4th quarter. And while I am a little upset at that, but you expect that being a road team in the SEC. But what really got MSU fans mad on twitter was this:

Yeah the officials called that a jump ball. Do note at that point it was a one possession game and going to the free throw line could have sealed it for MSU. But if that wasnt enough check out this push by a SC defender on Blair Schaefer:

It is a shame that a game like this was decided by bad calls, but MSU can learn to play better to ensure that the referees do not decide that game. Overall I think MSU can feel really good about themselves with only losing by 3 to a team that is probably going to move up to Number 2 next week. MSU’s #1 seed hopes are not dashed at all. In fact win or lose I don’t think it changed what MSU needed to do. Win against every non SC SEC opponent in the Regular season and win the SEC Tournament. At best MSU can hope for a CO-Championship against SC if they screw up against Kentucky or Tennessee. But I think the Regular Season Title is out the door. Which is fine because this team will prove their worth in the NCAA Tournament. Just to be clear I see no circumstance where MSU is not hosting the 1st 2 rounds of the NCAA Tournament like last year. Which is great for our fans. The Sweet Sixteen Round that is closest to MSU would be in Lexington, however Oklahoma City would not be terrible for our fans to travel to either. Stockton would not be preferable but it is better than Bridgeport which MSU should not play at under any circumstance. And of course the Final Four is in Dallas Texas this year. Home of Dak Prescott(he has to get court-side seats for this right?).

This does not change my thoughts on this team. In fact this loss only strengthens my thoughts on this team. Mississippi State now has 2 foes that they seek revenge on. South Carolina and UConn. I think that energy will transform to the rest of conference play. This team needs you to pack the Hump on Sunday against Texas A&M. They have been a consistent Top 25 game all year and it is arguably the biggest home game this conference season. If anything you will go to the Humphrey Coliseum to show this team you have their back. I never thought I would get into Women’s Basketball, but the last time I was this angry over a loss was 2014 Alabama in football. And that is a testament to the program Vic Schaefer has built. Folks this is a special team. And they will be going far. I would not want to play this MSU team after this loss. This is about to be a fiery team on a mission to win not only every game, but every possession. MSU will build off of Monday Night’s game. That was MSU’s first ever top 5 matchup. They had their first top 10 matchup this season as well. Under Vic Schaefer, there will be many more top 5 matchups involving the Bulldogs. Including this postseason.