GREENVILLE, S.C. — LSU couldn’t hang on.
Bidding to upset No. 2 seed Mississippi State on Friday night in the Southeastern Conference women's tournament, the Lady Tigers led briefly in the third quarter and trailed by only four entering the fourth before falling 78-61 to the sixth-ranked Bulldogs at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Miscommunication between the Lady Tigers (20-11) and late fouls that turned into three-point plays for Mississippi State (28-3) ended up being too much for LSU, which now awaits its NCAA postseason fate.
LSU trailed by only five points with 4:14 left in the game, but after a three-point play from Mississippi State’s Teaira McCowan, the momentum began to shift in the Bulldogs’ favor.
Mississippi State outscored LSU 33-20 in the fourth period.
“They executed in the game, and we didn't,” LSU junior Raigyne Moncrief said. “We played 33-34 minutes. We need to play 40.”
Moncrief led LSU with 25 points, five assists and three rebounds. Chloe Jackson added 12 points and four assists. Alexis Hyder and Ayana Mitchell both chipped in eight points for the Lady Tigers.
The Bulldogs also shot 66.7 percent from the floor in the game’s final 20 minutes, while the Lady Tigers shot 46.9 percent.
“I think this definitely puts some fuel, some fire under us,” Hyder said. “We're more hungry than we ever been, especially losing like this, in a game that we were really thought we were going to win. It's motivation.”
Mississippi State (28-3) was led by Morgan William with 21 points and seven assists. Teaira McCowan tallied 15 points and Ketara Chapel added 10.
Notably, State's Victoria Vivians finished with only five points and one rebound, an effort LSU coach Nikki Fargas said she was proud of in terms of executing the team’s game plan, but said it also led to Mississippi State’s 38 points in the paint.
“This is something that this group is going to learn from,” Fargas said. “They're going to learn from it. ... We're going to be better from playing a team, not only just an Ole Miss team, but Mississippi State, who potentially could be a No. 1 seed in the tournament.”
Now, the team will wait more than a week to find out a possible seeding in the NCAA tournament on March 13 on ESPN. Until then, Fargas said the team will prepare like a team that’s headed to play in the tournament.
“I think our team has done enough in the sense of our nonconference schedule, what we've done in the SEC, to get our name called,” Fargas said. “So we're going to go back, we're going to practice like we're an NCAA team.”