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Notre Dame wins tough NCAA Tournament contest vs. Mississippi State

SOUTH BEND – No one said every NCAA Tournament game needs to look pretty. All that matters is whether you are ahead when the clock hits zero. As frustrating as it might have been at times, Notre Dame was ahead at the end of its second-round game against Mississippi State, 53-48. With two wins at Purcell Pavilion in the bag, the Irish will move onto Greenville Regional 1.

Neither the Irish (27-5) nor the Bulldogs (22-11) shot particularly well in this game. They finished with respective field-goal percentages of 34.7% and 29.5%. So naturally, this contest came down to the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs erased a 10-point Irish lead to tie the game at 41 in the fourth quarter. Tensions ran high on both sides with the season on the line. Everyone looked to see which moment would determine the outcome, and several appeared as if they would be the one. Ultimately, it came down to the basics as the Irish knocked down eight of 10 free throws in the final 3:49 and did just enough on defense to fend off a pesky opponent that was in it until the end.

sonia citron particularly was clutch from the free-throw line as 10 of her team-high 14 points came from there. Lauren Ebo was a nuisance for the Bulldogs throughout with 10 points, and Irish-tournament record 18 rebounds and five blocks. She got some help on the glass from Maddy Westbeld, who grabbed 15 boards.

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Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire