VICTORIA, British Columbia (AP) — Jordan Danberry had 17 points and four rebounds and No. 10 Mississippi State survived an early scare to thump San Francisco 73-38 on Thursday in the opening game for both teams in the Greater Victoria Invitational.
The Dons kept it close in the first quarter and for much of the second, but were no match for the Bulldogs (7-0) in the final 20 minutes.
Andra Espinoza-Hunte added 12 points for Mississippi State, and Chloe Bibby had 10.
Lucie Hoskova led San Francisco (2-4) with 14 points, as the Dons were forced to rely on outside shooting while Mississippi State dominated the glass defensively. No other San Francisco scorers reached double figures.
Mississippi State was looking for a strong effort after almost being upset by unranked Marquette on Monday in a game in which the lead changed hands 19 times. The Bulldogs connected on just 38.7% of their field goals that night.
The Dons also wanted to deliver a better effort than the one provided Friday in a 79-67 road loss to California-Davis.
San Francisco overcame a slow start to forge a 16-16 tie after the opening quarter. But strong defensive play late in the second quarter helped the Bulldogs secure the win after they were in danger of squandering a nine-point lead. USF had pulled within four points on a Lucie Huskova three-pointer and two free throws by Mikayla Williams when MSU’s Jamya Minga-Young posted a steal, layup and foul shot to put the Bulldogs up 32-25.
Moments later, Mississippi State’s Promise Taylor blocked a shot to set the stage for a Rickea Jackson three-pointer that gave the Bulldogs a 35-25 lead at half-time.
The second half was no contest as the Bulldogs held the Dons without a basket for 8 1/2 minutes in the third quarter. San Francisco did not get another basket until there was 1:30 left in the third, and the Bulldogs outscored their opponents 28-2 in the quarter.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs moved a step closer to a showdown with No. 3 Stanford, which was due to play California Baptist later Thursday. If they both stay in the winners’ bracket, Mississippi State and Stanford can only square off in the final.
San Francisco: The Dons can only hope to finish fifth in the eight-team tournament. They will be looking to establish some consistency after suffering their third straight loss overall.
Mississippi State meets Green Bay in a semifinal game Friday night.
San Francisco faces Bowling Green in a consolation-round game Thursday.