By David Dawson
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Vanderbilt women not only had a hard time making shots Friday, they had difficulty taking shots.
Limited to a season-low 37 attempts from the floor, the No. 11-seeded Commodores saw their SEC Tournament run come to an end in the quarterfinals with a 63-46 loss to 16th-ranked and No. 3-seeded Mississippi State in Jacksonville, Fla.
Vanderbilt (18-14) shot just 32 percent from the floor and committed 27 turnovers against the defensive-minded Bulldogs (25-6), who entered the tournament ranked fifth in the nation in turnover margin and12th in turnovers forced per game.
The Commodores -- who beat Ole Miss in the first round and posted an overtime win over Georgia in the second round -- managed only five field goals in the first half, going 5-of-21, and were then held to only 16 shots in the second half to finish 12-of-37 from the floor.
Mississippi State didn't have an especially impressive offensive effort, either, with the Bulldogs shooting just 40 percent. But they attempted 20 more shots than Vanderbilt, finishing 23-of-57 during the rough and ragged contest.
"It was an extremely physical game," said head coach Melanie Balcomb. "We were really affected by it early. (After several offensive fouls were called), we were very hesitant to be aggressive on the offensive end. It makes you afraid to play on offense. It changes the game."
Dominique Dillingham scored all of her game-high 12 points in the second half to help Mississippi State advance to the semifinals to face Tennessee on Saturday. Teaira McCowan added 11 points and Victoria Vivans, the SEC's second-leading scorer, had 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting.
Marqu'es Webb, the Commodores' emotional leader, suffered a hard fall in the first half and had to be taken to the locker room. Webb returned to the game before halftime, but was held in check by Mississippi State's physically-imposing defense. Webb took just four shots from the floor, finishing with four points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Rachel Bell scored a team-high 11 points for the Commodores, who were plagued by foul trouble much of the night.
Chista Reed, the Commodores' leading scorer, sat out long stretches in foul trouble and endured a rare cold-shooting performance, going 2-of-11 of the floor while scoring nine points. Morgan Batey and Rebekah Dahlman added eight points each -- with all of Dahlman's points coming from an 8-for-8 performance at the foul line.
Mississippi State led the game from start to finish, although Vanderbilt stayed within striking distance for much of the way, trailing 12-6 at the end of the first quarter and 27-21 at the half.
The Commodores cut the deficit to 31-29 after Reed hit a 3-pointer near the midway mark of the third quarter, but the Bulldogs put together a 10-1 run, capped by two baskets by Brianna Richardson, to build a 41-30 lead late in the period. Mississippi State stretched the lead to 51-36 with 4:54 remaining after back-to-back jumpers by Dillingham, and the Bulldogs stayed in charge the rest of the way.
The Bulldogs' bench outscored Vanderbilt's reserves, 29-8, and Mississippi outscored Vanderbilt, 26-8, in the paint.