Irish hold on to defeat Mississippi State; advance to Sweet 16

Notre Dame's Lauren Ebo (33) celebrates after scoring and being fouled, as Mississippi State's...
Notre Dame's Lauren Ebo (33) celebrates after scoring and being fouled, as Mississippi State's JerKaila Jordan, left, reacts to the call during the first half of a second-round college basketball game in the women's NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 19, 2023, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Michael Caterina)(Michael Caterina | AP)
Published: Mar. 19, 2023 at 6:07 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Lauren Ebo had 10 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks to help No. 3 seed Notre Dame beat 11th-seed Mississippi State 53-48 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

Maddy Westbeld added nine points and 15 rebounds for the Irish, who blew an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter before making the plays down the stretch for the win.

Mississippi State scored eight straight points to open the fourth quarter and tie the game at 41. Ebo scored the first Irish basket of the final period on an offensive putback with 4:38 remaining.

The Irish regained the lead for good on a pair of KK Bransford free throws with 3:49 left in the game, which gave Notre Dame a 45-43 advantage. The Irish held onto the lead the rest of the way.

Ebo also did it on the defensive end, holding the Bulldogs’ leading scorer Jessika Carter to five points on 2 for 11 shooting. The Notre Dame post player set the school record in the NCAA Tournament with her rebounding effort. She broke Katryna Gaither’s mark of 16 set in 1997.

A multitude of Mississippi State guards agitated Notre Dame’s leading scorer Sonia Citron, who was frequently picked up full court. She scored 14 points.

Citron, KK Bransford and Jenna Brown shared ballhandling responsibilities with second-team Associated Press All-American point guard Olivia Miles out the remainder of the season with an undisclosed knee injury.

The trio combined for four assists with nine turnovers.

Kourtney Weber led Mississippi State (22-11) with 14 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter.

Notre Dame (27-5) will face No. 2 Maryland in the Sweet 16 next weekend in Greenville, S.C.