Tennessee Lady Vols collapse in blowout loss at Mississippi State: 3 takeaways

PJ Washington had 23 points Saturday

Mississippi State is 11-0 at home this season, outscoring opponents by an average of 94.5 to 55.1 per game for a +39.4 margin. "I went right down to each guy. And against a team I have so much respect for, and think they're really talented".

UT also fell to Notre Dame during the midst of that SEC skid, 77-62, in a game the Lady Vols led at the half by three en route to their sixth straight loss.

MSU coach Vic Schaefer was rocking a pink tie and pink sneakers, while his Bulldogs rocked Tennessee.

Tennessee (15-7, 4-5 SEC) plays its second game in a row on the road, as it travels to Starkville, Mississippi, to take on No. 6/6 Mississippi State (21-1, 9-0 SEC) on Sunday.

It was a close, competitive game - and then it wasn't.

Tennessee struggled with Mississippi State's combination of size and speed. But Mississippi State responded with a huge run to pull within 51-50 on a pair of free throws by Quinndary Weatherspoon with 8:41 left.

We've been saying for a while that Tennessee is extremely streaky and manages to collapse for a random quarter every game.

The Bulldogs have lost three of their past five games, but the chance to upset the Wildcats could provide the season-defining victory they need. Mississippi State won its fifth game in six tries against the Lady Volunteers after failing to beat them the first 34 times. I remember coming to see Tennessee play here a few years ago when there was far more orange than maroon in the crowd.

Much has changed in the SEC women's basketball power structure in recent years, and Mississippi State has been a big part of that. Well, they waited until the fourth quarter to do that here. Schaefer has more than hinted that there are times when McCowan, a legit national player of the year candidate, sometime is not as "locked in" as she could be. The season still turned out great for Mississippi State with the program's first trip to the Final Four and an epic victory there over UConn in the national semifinals.

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Everybody knows - or should know - about McCowan, but what is becoming increasingly evident is just how good the Bulldog guards are. It appeared Danberry could go around the person guarding her any time she wanted. "I was in attack mode and she was in attack mode".

Next question: Did she ever lose?

Zaay Green had 13 for the Lady Vols (15-8, 4-6), who were without leading scorer Evina Westbrook because of a violation of team rules. Danberry scored the next three buckets - two on driving layups - to push that lead to 57-49.

State was just getting started.

"I think we handled it well", Schaefer said Friday night of his team's bye Thursday.

A 13-0 spurt in the first three minutes of the final quarter sealed the victory.

Calipari wasn't happy with the way his team had played during games with early tipoffs this season, so at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, barely four hours before the noon tipoff, he brought his team to Humphrey Coliseum for a shootaround.

On Saturday, they play host to the No. 5 Wildcats in a key SEC battle that is key for both teams. He said Scott, who missed the game against Alabama due to concussion symptoms, was cleared Monday. They're tough. They grind it out and they are competitors....

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