Lady Bulldogs battles Duke Sunday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 22, 2015

DURHAM, N.C. – All that stands between Mississippi State and the Sweet 16 is Duke.

And Sunday at 11 a.m. CT at historic Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Bulldogs look to get past that hurdle when they face the Blue Devils in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs last advanced to the second weekend in 2010, the program’s last appearance in the “Big Dance.”

It’s the second meeting between the two, as Duke claimed a 72-67 win in New Orleans during the 1995-96 campaign.

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The game will be televised by ESPN2, with Tiffany Greene and LaChina Robinson handling the broadcast.

“We’re going to have to have that game of 40 minutes where we put it all together and play well,” said third-year MSU coach Vic Schaefer, whose team would play either Maryland or New Mexico State next weekend in Spokane, Wa., with a win. “It will take our best effort to beat them here (Sunday).”

The 12th-ranked Bulldogs, who have won a school-record 27 games, punched their ticket to the second round by knocking off Tulane 57-47 on Friday behind a 15-point, 12-rebound effort from Breanna Richardson, her third double-double of the year. Also in double figures was Morgan William with 14 points.

“Once the ball goes up and we get into the flow of the game, it’s just all about getting into the flow of the game,” Richardson said.

On the year, All-SEC standout Victoria Vivians leads MSU and is second in the SEC with her 14.8 scoring clip, while senior forward Martha Alwal is tops with 6.7 rebounds and 67 blocked shots. Against the Green Wave, Alwal had just 4 points and 5 boards, but she set an MSU postseason record with 6 blocked shots.

“Defense is going to be key,” Alwal said.

No. 16 Duke enters the contest sporting a 22-10 ledger after rallying late Friday to knock off upset-minded Albany, 54-52.

The Blue Devils are led in scoring by Elizabeth Williams and Rebecca Greenwell at 14.5 and 14.2 points, respectively. Williams also averages a team-high 9.0 rebounds and leads the nation with 93 blocked shots.

“That’s a great team they’ve got there,” Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said of MSU. “They’re a very good team. They’re so deep. It’s interesting how deep they go, and how they just keep bringing players at you.”

MSU Media Relations