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Mississippi State Women’s Basketball: NCAA Tournament, Sweet 16 Preview

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The Bulldogs travel to Portland for a much anticipated Sweet 16 matchup with Arizona State.

MSU Athletics https://hailstate.com/galleries/?gallery=5053

Broadcast Information

The game is at 8 p.m. CT and can be watched on ESPN 2.

What to Watch For

Anriel Howard vs. Kianna Ibis

Howard, fresh off a 21 point 14 rebound performance, her second double-double of the tournament, will have to deal with Kianna Ibis, a senior forward averaging 14 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Ibis’ season averages nearly mirrors Howard’s 16.5 and 8.5. Both are versatile with an inside presence, able to score, rebound, and create their own shot.

For Mississippi State to make it to the Elite Eight, Howard must be a factor offensively, but even more so on the defensive end, keeping Ibis outside the paint. The combination of Howard along with Teaira McCowan should be enough, however, both are prone to foul trouble, as Ibis will use that to her advantage. Ibis at 6’1” and Howard at 5’11”, expect a battle down low.

MSU Athletics https://hailstate.com/galleries/?gallery=5053

As Howard posted three steals and a block against Clemson, forcing turnovers is a must for her tonight, especially if McCowan faces foul trouble early. Free-throw shooting will also be factor, as Howard was a perfect 9-9 against the Tigers. Howard will have to post another double double, or just about along with a few steals and/or blocks, ultimately surpassing Ibis in most or all categories.

Teaira McCowan on the offensive glass

Averaging a double double and on a tear, McCowan must create second chance opportunities for Mississippi State’s plethora of shooters. An integral component to the Bulldogs’ success is McCowan’s ability rule the offensive boards, proving to be too much for the opposition. McCowan should post at least 15 boards, 10 being offensive..

She can stay on the floor for all 40 minutes and may have to tonight. This game may come down to the wire. If needed, Vic Schaefer will do anything and everything to keep McCowan on the floor.

Prediction

Mississippi State gets past Arizona State 79 - 75