Dominique Dillingham had 14 points and No. 6 Mississippi State advanced to its second straight Southeastern Conference Tournament with a 66-50 victory over Texas A&M on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs set a school record with their 29th victory this season. They'll look for No. 30 on Sunday against two-time defending tournament champion South Carolina. The fifth-ranked Gamecocks outlasted No. 20 Kentucky 89-77 earlier Saturday.
Morgan William added 12 points for Mississippi State (29-3) as all-SEC first-team selection Victoria Vivians was off her game for a second straight night. Vivians, who made just one of five shots for five points in a Bulldogs win Friday night, was just 4 of 14 from the field for 10 points against Texas A&M (21-11).
Not that it mattered all that much in this one. Mississippi State was up 14 points at the break and stretched the margin to 24 in the third quarter.
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It was a disappointing performance for Aggies coach Gary Blair, had hoped for a better showing against his one-time assistant in Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer. With the loss, it was the first time Texas A&M lost three times in the same season to an SEC opponent.
Danni Williams had 13 points before fouling out to lead Texas A&M.
The Bulldogs fell to South Carolina in last season’s SEC Tournament final 66-52. The Gamecocks have won the past nine in the series with Mississippi State.
THE BIG PICTURE
Texas A&M: The Aggies rely heavily on their starters – their reserves don’t have a point in two SEC Tournament games so far. That run ended against Mississippi State as backup Jasmine Lumpkin made two foul shots in the fourth quarter. Jasmine Williams later added a basket off the bench. Anriel Howard, who led the way in the Aggies upset of No. 23 Missouri, on Friday night, could not find the same touch early against the Bulldogs. She was just 2-of-8 shooting for four points.
Mississippi State: If Bulldogs coach Vic Schaefer learned anything from his old boss at Arkansas and Texas A&M, Gary Blair, it was get out front as fast as you can. Mississippi State did that against Blair’s Aggies with consecutive 3-pointers by Breanna Richardson and Victoria Vivians moving it ahead 18-9 in the opening quarter. The Bulldogs kept pushing the pace, even with Vivians struggling for a second straight game, and were up 34-20 at the break. Vivians made just one of her eight shots. She was just 1-of-5 shooting for five points in the Bulldogs quarterfinal win over LSU on Friday.
Texas A&M will await its likely 12th straight NCAA Tournament bid.
Mississippi State faces No. 5 South Carolina in the SEC Tournament championship game Sunday.