Bulldogs ready to take on Creighton

Following its decisive First Four victory over Illinois on Wednesday, March 15, the Mississippi State women’s basketball team has advanced to the field of 64 of the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. The No. 11 seeded Bulldogs will take on No. 6 seed Creighton. Tip-off between the Bulldogs and Bluejays is scheduled for 5 p.m. Central time in South Bend, Ind. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN News.

GAME INFORMATION
Mississippi State (21-10, 9-7 SEC) vs. Creighton (22-8, 15-5 BIG EAST)
Date: Friday, March 17, 2023 // Time: 5 p.m. CT
Location: South Bend, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
Watch: ESPN News (Talent: Jenn Hildreth & Mike Thibault)
Listen: MSU Radio Network (Play-By-Play: Jason Crowder) 

Numbers To Know
12 • Mississippi State is making its 12th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs own a 23-11 record in the tournament.
2 • Mississippi State has played in two NCAA Final Fours and National championship games in program history. The Bulldogs last appeared in the National Championship game back in 2018 against Notre Dame.
25 • Entering the First Four, the Bulldog roster had little NCAA Tournament experience. The roster had played in a combined 25 career NCAA Tournament games, with Ahlana Smith leading the way, having played in 11 games.
22 • Jessika Carter scored 22 points in Wednesday’s win over Illinois. She scored a game-high while adding nine rebounds and four blocked shots.

Series History
• This will be the first meeting between Creighton and Mississippi State.

Get-To-Know Creighton
• The Bluejays are playing their best basketball of the season. Creighton has won ten of their last 12 games. The only two losses during that stretch are a two-point loss at No. 6 UConn and a two-point loss against Villanova.
• Creighton’s offense is guided by the trio of Lauren Jensen (15.9 ppg), Morgan Maly (15.0 ppg), and Emma Ronsiek (13.0 ppg).
• Over the final 12 contests, the Bluejays held six opponents under 60 points, including 34 to Georgetown on Feb. 18.
• The trio of Jansen, Maly and Ronsiek average close to 45 points per game.
• Creighton is coached by Jim Flanery, who is in his 21st season as a head coach, all at Creighton. While leading the Bluejays, Flanery has earned a 401-261 career record. Flanery graduated from Creighton in 1987.
• The entire Creighton coaching staff are graduates of Creighton.
• Creighton is making its 8th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. They have an 8-8 record.
• The Bluejays made their first Sweet 16 appearance in program history last year after upsetting No. 8 Iowa in Iowa City, 64-62. They advanced to the Elite Eight before falling to South Carolina, 80-50.

NCAA Tournament History
• Mississippi State is 23-11 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. 
• Mississippi State has made 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, two of which were national finals. 
• The Bulldogs have won at least one NCAA Tournament game in all but one tournament appearance. The only time State didn’t win at least one game was in their first appearance in 1999.
•The Bulldogs have been a No. 1 seed twice in program history. 
• State is 3-0 in NCAA Tournament overtime games. 
• Mississippi State is 14-3 in the NCAA Tournament since the 2016-17 season. 
• The Bulldogs are 2-1 in NCAA Tournament games against BIG EAST teams. The last tournament meeting vs. a team from the BIG EAST was State’s 66-64 overtime win over UConn.
• This is MSU’s second time being an 11 seed, the first since 2008-09. The Bulldogs are 2-1 when seeded 11th.

Mississippi State Noteables
• Anastasia Hayes leads the SEC in assists per game at 4.6 per contest. If she ends the season leading the SEC, she will become the first Bulldog to accomplish that. 
• Only two Bulldogs are averaging double figures this season. Jessika Carter leads the team in both scoring (15.0) and rebounding (7.7), while JerKaila Jordan ranks second in both (11.9 ppg and 5.2 rpg).
• Mississippi State is 1 of 14 schools to make a bowl game, and its men’s and women’s basketball programs make the NCAA tournament. In the SEC, Tennessee and Alabama are the only other schools to accomplish that feat. MSU’s NCAA Tournament opponent Illinois is also one of the 14 schools.

SEC Postseason Honors
• Jessika Carter, a preseason All-SEC pick, earned Second Team All-SEC honors. Carter was also named to the SEC All-Defensive Team. This is Carter’s second career All-SEC honor. She earned Second Team honors back in 2020. 
• Debreasha Powe earned SEC All-Freshmen Team honors. This is the 4th straight season MSU has had someone named to the All-Freshman team.
• Mississippi State, who finished the regular season tied for 5th in the SEC Standings, was predicted to finish tied for 5th by the League’s head coaches in the preseason poll and was predicted to finish 8th by the SEC media in the preseason media poll.

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