Mississippi State University (27-2, 15-1 SEC) won its second-straight SEC regular season championship in women's basketball with a 68-64 road win against the University of South Carolina (21-8, 13-3 SEC).
After a win at home against Louisiana State University, MSU had a share of the SEC championship with South Carolina, but head coach Vic Schaefer said they did not want to share with anyone as he said he knew it was going to be a close battle in Columbia, South Carolina.
“I knew it was going to be a dog fight,” Schaefer said, according to a press release sent out by the MSU Athletic department. “I thought they really came out and had a lot of energy. They kind of took the fight to us a little bit.”
South Carolina came out the gates firing on all cylinders, and lead 39-32 at the half. However, in the third quarter, MSU held USC to just eight points, proving Schaefer and the team had made an adjustment at halftime.
“I challenged our guards at halftime because I thought their guards were the difference in the game in the first half,” Schaefer said. “We talked about that a little bit, and really just the toughness piece and the defensive piece.”
The turnaround for the team occurred at the 8:51 mark in the third quarter, as MSU was down 39-34, when a technical foul was called on Schaefer. The call got the attention of the players, as MSU completed the second half comeback by outscoring USC by 11 points in the third quarter of the game.
Schaefer said the two best point guards in the nation played in the game with Tyasha Harris leading South Carolina with 20 points and three assists, and Jazzmun Holmes contributing eight points and five assists to MSU.
“You saw two of the best point guards in the county, in my opinion, today in Harris and Holmes,” Schaefer said. “Those two kids are dynamite. If there are two better in the country, I’d like to know who they are.”
MSU will have a first-round bye in the SEC tournament, and will play the winner of LSU and the University of Tennessee at 11 a.m. Friday in Columbia, South Carolina.