STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI / AP) – Blair Schaefer scored 18 points, Jazzmun Holmes added 14 and Mississippi State beat DePaul 92-71 on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Six Mississippi State players reached double figures in scoring Sunday.
Second-seeded Mississippi State used a 14-0 run in the middle of the third quarter to turn a tight game into a 61-43 advantage.
DePaul, the seven seed, scored the next seven points to cut the lead to 61-50 by the end of the third quarter, but Mississippi State responded with the first eight points of the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach and advance to the Sweet 16 for the second straight season.
Mississippi State (31-4) had an unorthodox starting lineup for the second straight game, with usual role players like Schaefer, Ketara Chapel and Roshuna Johnson in the first five instead of Victoria Vivians, Dominique Dillingham and Chinwe Okorie.
The strategy more or less worked, though the Bulldogs’ early lead quickly evaporated and a tight first half emerged. Mississippi State got a defensive stop on the final play of the second quarter to take a 38-37 advantage into halftime.
DePaul (27-8) was led by Jessica January, who scored 18 points. Brooke Schulte added 16.
The Bulldogs head to their second straight Sweet Sixteen appearance, and will travel to Oklahoma City to take on the winner of three-seed Washington Huskies or six-seed Oklahoma Sooners.