NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Victoria Vivians scored 22 points and second-ranked Mississippi State remained in position to add a Southeastern Conference Tournament title to its regular-season championship, beating No. 15 Texas A&M 70-55 on Saturday the semifinals.
The Bulldogs (32-0) reached the title game for a third straight year and extended the nation’s longest active winning streak to 32 games. They will play No. 8 South Carolina or 19th-ranked Georgia on Sunday.
Mississippi State reached the tournament championship game for the fourth time overall by beating Texas A&M for a second straight year.
Teaira McGowan matched her season-low with only six points for the Bulldogs, but she grabbed 13 rebounds. Morgan William added 15 points, and Roshunda Johnson had 13.
Playing its third game in as many days, Texas A&M (24-9) snapped a four-game winning streak with the Aggies’ first loss since Mississippi State beat them Feb. 18 in Starkville.
Chennedy Carter, the SEC freshman of the year, led the Aggies with 27 points.
Texas A&M dominated on the boards early with Carter scoring nine points in giving the Aggies an 18-15 lead after the first quarter.
Mississippi State pounced in the second quarter with a 16-4 run going into halftime. They forced five turnovers, the worst when Carter let the ball roll at midcourt with Morgan William racing by to pick it up for an easy layup. The Aggies missed nine of 10 shots before Danni Williams’ jumper just before the buzzer to trim Mississippi State’s lead to 36-28.
Carter hit a 3 with 7:21 left in the third to pull the Aggies within 38-33. That’s when Vivians took over and knocked down three straight 3-pointers, and Johnson added a 3 to finish off a 12-2 run giving Mississippi State its biggest lead at 50-35 with 4:25 left.
The Bulldogs led by as much as 19 in the fourth quarter.
Texas A&M: The Aggies haven’t upset a team ranked No. 1 or No. 2 since April 3, 2011, with a win against Stanford at the Final Four. … They did manage to outrebound the Bulldogs 43-32 but wound up outscored in the paint 30-24.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are the SEC’s first team since Tennessee in 1997-98 to finish the regular season undefeated and now are just a win from matching that team in adding a tournament title heading into the NCAA Tournament. … The SEC’s best outside the arc, they put away the Aggies in the third by hitting 4 of 7 from 3. … They also had only five turnovers.
Texas A&M: Waiting for NCAA Tournament bracket announcement.
Mississippi State: SEC Tournament championship for a third straight year.
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