OKLAHOMA CITY — It didn’t matter that Mississippi State center Teaira McCowan had scored just six points through three quarters.

Her teammates told her to take over and she listened. She scored 20 of her career-high 26 points in the fourth quarter, and the Bulldogs defeated Washington 75-64 on Friday night to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time.

“They said, ‘T, you’ve got to dominate,”‘ McCowan said. “Just taking that in, listening to my teammates, knowing I had to step up, take my team, like, further. That’s when I had the look in my eye like, ‘Nobody can stop you.”‘

McCowan, a 6-foot-7 sophomore 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).

McCowan also had 12 rebounds and a career-high six blocks, and now the Bulldogs have reached a new level. Mississippi State Coach Vic Schaefer, whose team will face top-seeded Baylor in the regional final, said his team is getting overlooked.

“They’re not getting a lot of credit right now,” he said. “That’s fine. You know what? We’ll fly under the radar the whole way if we have to.”


Washington’s Kelsey Plum, the NCAA’s all-time scoring leader, had 29 points on 10-for-25 shooting in her final college game.

“They shadowed me with the big player,” Plum said. “They switched plays, hedged screens. Credit to them. They had a great defensive game plan. You know, I didn’t make shots, just throughout the game, which I usually do.”

Schaefer said slowing her down was a chore, but Dominique Dillingham, an All-SEC defensive player, had a key role.

“I don’t know when the last time she’s (Plum) been held to (10 for 25), or 40 percent, whatever it was,” Schaefer said. “We made her work for everything.”

Chantel Osahor added 17 points and 11 rebounds in her final game for third-seeded Washington (29-6), which reached the Final Four last season.

Mississippi State led 38-29 at halftime. Plum scored 10 points in the third quarter, and the defense picked up to help Washington grab a 50-48 lead before McCowan took over.


Plum tearfully reflected on her career afterward.

“I’m so grateful to have been able to go to the University of Washington,” she said. “You know, when I first came on campus, I had big dreams, dreams for our program, dreams as an individual. A lot of them came true.”

It was the third straight NCAA tournament appearance for Washington under Coach Mike Neighbors, and the first time the team 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.

Mississippi State’s 2015-16 season ended with a 60-point loss to Connecticut in the Sweet 16, an experience Schaefer said helped prepare his team for this season.

BAYLOR 97, LOUISVILLE 63: Nina Davis scored 21 points to help top-seeded Baylor (33-3) rout No. 4 Louisville (29-8).

Beatrice Mompremier and Alexis Prince each added 14 points for Baylor. Asia Durr scored 21 points for Louisville.

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