Mississippi State women lose first game of the season

By: 
The Associated Press
The Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. — Sabrina Ionescu scored 29 points, including all 17 of her free throws, and No. 7 Oregon handed No. 4 Mississippi State its first loss this season, 82-74 on Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs (10-1) had won 46 regular-season nonconference games, but couldn't catch up once the Ducks (9-1) started to pull away in the fourth quarter, boosted by their home fans. Maite Cazorla added 20 points for the Ducks.

Anriel Howard led Mississippi State with a career-high 30 points. Oregon held senior Teaira McCowan to five points, but she had 11 rebounds.

Oregon went up 64-57 on Ruthy Hebard's short jumper with 7:47 left. Cazorla added a layup for the Ducks before Bre'Amber Scott's 3-pointer for Mississippi State.

A driving layup from Cazorla made it 76-65 and got the crowd at Matthew Knight Arena on its feet. Jazzmun Holmes' layup got the Bulldogs within 80-74 with 1:23 left, but Howard fouled out a short time later.

The Ducks went into the game leading the nation with an average of 92.4 points a game, while the Bulldogs were a close second at 92.3.

Oregon's lone loss came on Dec. 9 at Michigan State. The team's only other game against a ranked opponent was back on Nov. 1, when they downed then-No. 18 Syracuse 75-73.

McCowan, Mississippi State's leading scorer, whose eight double-doubles this season lead the nation, was defended well by Hebard from the start.

McCowan was handed an unsportsmanlike conduct call after an elbow on Hebard, and Ionescu made both shots to put the Ducks up 28-17 midway through the second quarter. Ionescu's 3-pointer and Cazorla's layup stretched the lead to 37-31.

A technical foul was called on Oregon coach Kelly Graves with 0.8 seconds left in the half, and Mississippi State made both shots, then added a free throw to take a 40-39 lead into the break. Howard led all scorers with 14 points at the break for the Bulldogs.

Mississippi State pushed the lead to 51-44 in the third quarter, after Howard's jumper, layup and free throw. But the Ducks wouldn't let the margin go to double digits, and Oregon tied it at 55 on a pair of free throws from Taylor Chavez. Mississippi coach Vic Schaefer got a tech and Ionescu made both shots to take a 57-55 lead into the final period.

The Bulldogs were hurt when guard Jordan Danberry collected her fifth foul early in the quarter, leaving the game with 11 points.

Mississippi State was coming off an 86-42 victory over Southern Miss on Friday, in the 700th game in program history. The Bulldogs had two wins this season over ranked opponents.

Oregon rebounded from their loss to Michigan State with an 87-79 win at South Dakota last Wednesday.

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