Columbia, MS (WLOX) - No. 5 South Carolina, the reigning Southeastern Conference Champion, handed No. 4 Mississippi State its first loss of the season. The Lady Bulldogs started off the season with 20 consecutive victories before dropping a 64-61 loss to the Gamecocks Monday night in Columbia.
"It was a wonderful basketball game, "MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. "South Carolina made one more play then we did. I am heart-broken for my kids. I couldn't be prouder of 19 offensive rebounds. South Carolina and Tennessee are the two biggest teams in our league. We really competed from the opening tip."
MSU fell to 20-1 and 6-1 in SEC play. South Carolina improved to 17-1 and 7-0 in the conference.
Mississippi State led 35-28 at the half. Foul trouble took a toll on MSU in the second half.
Victoria Vivians and Breanna Richardson led the Bulldogs with 12 points each. Teaira McCowan chipped-in with 10 points. Chinwe Okorie battled for a team-high 10 rebounds.
South Carolina used an 8-0 run midway through the third quarter to take a 41-37 lead. The Gamecocks carried a 49-48 lead into the fourth quarter and grabbed a 56-55 advantage with 3:40 remaining.
The Bulldogs missed a pair of open 3-point shots and missed a potential go-ahead layup with one minute left.
South Carolina was led by A'ja Wilson who netted 26 points and Allisha Gray added 17 points.
MSU returns to action on Sunday when Texas A&M travels to Starkville. The Aggies-Bulldogs game is set for 3 p.m. on the SEC Network.