Mississippi State Women's Basketball Falls in SEC Tournament Opener

Mississippi State women's basketball's late-season collapse culminated in an early exit from the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament.
Mississippi State guard Jerkaila Jordan (2) moves the ball past Texas A & M guard Tineya Hylton
Mississippi State guard Jerkaila Jordan (2) moves the ball past Texas A & M guard Tineya Hylton / MCKENZIE LANGE/ Staff / USA TODAY

Mississippi State women's basketball lost 72-56 to Texas A&M in their SEC Women's Basketball Tournament opener. The Bulldogs fell behind the Aggies early, struggling to find anything on the offensive end of the court. They fought back in the second quarter, trailing by four in what was then a defensive affair.

But in the second half, Texas A&M became unstoppable on the offensive end, and with State's own offense still sputtering, the Aggies pulled away for a dominant victory. Mississippi State, who now has lost six of its last seven games, fell to 21-11 on the season.

Mississippi State women's basketball's offense was abysmal

MSU's offense was horrific on Thursday. They scored just nine points in the first quarter on 3-17 shooting. Though they improved after that point, they still shot just 35% for the game and 26% from three.

Jessika Carter led the Bulldogs with 12 points and eight rebounds, and she was the only Bulldog to finsih better than 40% shooting. Darrione Rogers tied Carter in points on 5-13 shooting. Jerkaila Jordan and Lauren Park-Lane went a combined 6-23.

It's nearly impossible to win a game when shooting that poorly.

Texas A&M was unstoppable in the second half

Texas A&M, on the other hand, found plenty of success on the offensive end, particularly in the second half. After somewhat of a slow start of their own, the Aggies flipped a switch after the break. They scored 47 second half points on 65% shooting.

Aicha Coulibaly led A&M with 17 points. Janiah Barker provided 15 and nine rebounds. Season scoring leader Endyia Rogers came off the bench after missing her last few games with injury to provide 12 points on 5-7 shooting.

A&M's offense has been poor at times this season, but they had no issues against the Bulldogs.

Mississippi State women's basketball's NCAA Tournament hopes now rest in the hands of the Selection Committee

Mississippi State women's basketball entered today's game as one of ESPN's "Last Four In" in their women's bracketology, barely hanging on to a bid. As a result, this game was rightfully labeled a "must-win" by many, including myself, because a loss would almost certainly knock them out of the field.

ESPN Women's Bracketologist Charlie Creme joined the game broadcast and did not entirely rule out the chances of Mississippi State still making the tournament with a loss. But he made it very clear that it would be incredibly close, and now State's hopes are largely dependent on how various national results impact the bracket.

It will also be up to how much the Selection Committee values State's resume following such a horrendous final few weeks. Sam Purcell has been banging the table that no SEC team has ever been left out with at least 20 wins and a .500 conference record, but if a team has ever given a reason for the Committee to ignore that precedent, it's been the Bulldogs.

They will now wait 10 days to learn their NCAA Tournament fates, with Selection Sunday set for March 17.