Teaira McCowan scored 20 of her career-high 26 points in the fourth quarter, and Mississippi State defeated Washington 75-64 on Friday night to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time.
McCowan, a 6-foot-7 sophomore center who entered the game averaging just over eight points per game, made 9 of 10 field goals in the final 10 minutes. She scored 11 points in the first 2:33 of the fourth quarter to turn a two-point deficit into a seven-point lead for the second-seeded Bulldogs (32-4).
Plum scored 29 points and Chantel Osahor added 17 points and 11 rebounds in their final games for third-seeded Washington, (29-6) which reached the Final Four last season.
Mississippi State led 38-29 at halftime. Plum exploded for 10 points in the third quarter, and the defense picked up to help Washington take a 50-48 lead into the fourth quarter before McCowan took over.
It was the Huskies’ third straight NCAA Tournament appearance under coach Mike Neighbors, and the first time they reached the Sweet 16 in back-to-back years. Guards Aarion McDonald and Natalie Romeo are slated to return next year. Katie Collier, the other starter besides Plum and Osahor, is a senior.
Last season ended with a 60-point loss to Connecticut in the Sweet 16, an experience coach Vic Schaefer said helped prepare his team for this season. The Bulldogs held Washington to 39 percent shooting.
Mississippi State will play Baylor or Louisville in the Elite Eight on Sunday.