While the game had its share of momentum shifts, Mississippi State’s starting five was just too much for Clemson. The Bulldogs had a counterpunch for everything the Tigers threw their way and it started down low with Teaira McCowan and Anriel Howard. Each posted a double double, McCowan with 30 points and 11 rebounds, Howard with 21 and 14. The duo also combined for a total of nine blocks.
McCowan and Howard did find themselves in foul trouble, but were able to stay in the game. However, McCowan, who has improved, went 2-6 from the line. That said, Howard was perfect and shot 9-9.
Turnovers, which kept Clemson in the game, were an issue. The Bulldogs turned the ball over 17 times. They have been inconsistent in this regard all year and must address it going forward. Expect Vic Schaefer have things fixed.
Jordan Danberry, whose lay-up to start the third quarter, put Mississippi State up 43-24 and ignited the Bulldogs throughout the second half. Danberry finished with 18 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks. Her scoring ability gives the Bulldogs an extra two-way weapon, as teams have reason to worry come the rest of the tournament.
Jazzmun Holmes filled the stat line with six points, four rebounds, seven assists, and four steals. Andra Espinoza-Hunter who went 3-6 from distance added nine points. Holmes’ vision combined with Espinoza-Hunter’s range has been lethal.
Clemson’s Simone Westbrook and Danielle Edwards were relatively held in check. Each had 14 points and combined for four steals. Having said that, Westbrook and Edwards also combined for 10 turnovers, in which Mississippi State took advantage, an area the Bulldogs pride themselves on.
Overall, it was a strong outing for Mississippi State. While the Bulldogs must take turnovers and foul trouble into account, their starting five is more than formidable. Big things to come in the Sweet 16!