Bench helps LSU top Mississippi State 71-62 in SEC quarters

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Ryann Payne scored 17 points off the bench and eighth-seeded LSU ended a five-game losing streak with a 71-62 win over ninth-seeded Mississippi State on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

The Tigers (9-12), who lost to the Bulldogs 68-59 a week earlier, earned a date with top-seeded and second-ranked Texas A&M. LSU handed the Aggies their only loss of the season, 65-61 in overtime on Jan. 14.

Khayla Pointer, coach Nikki Fargas’ niece, scored 14 points for LSU and Sarah Shematsi joined Payne to give the Tigers a huge advantage in bench points by adding 13. LSU’s reserves had a 34-15 advantage. Faustine Aifuwa added nine points and 12 rebounds.

Jessika Carter and Rickea Jackson both had 14 points for Mississippi State (10-9), which played in the last five SEC championship games. Myah Taylor added 12.

MSU led throughout the first quarter but Payne opened the second with a 3-pointer and a layup and LSU led the rest of the way. Payne had 10 points in the second quarter and the Tigers led 33-29 at the half.

LSU scored the last five points of the third quarter to lead 53-43 and the Bulldogs did not got closer than seven.

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More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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