USA Team big smiles

USA Team players – from left, Mississippi State freshmen Rickea Jackson, Aliyah Matharu and Jayla Hemingway – all scored in double digits on Sunday against China, Jackson led the way with 26 points, Matharu scored 12 and Hemingway added 10.

Another World University Games challenge, another big deficit – and another comeback for the Mississippi State women’s team.

Competing in Italy as USA Team, the MSU basketball players – who faced a double-digit deficit late in the third quarter – rallied on Monday to beat Japan 89-84 in a semifinal game.

The USA squad plays defending champion Australia for the gold medal on Wednesday at 1 p.m. CDT in Naples.

The Aussies advanced with a 56-49 victory over Portugal.

The red, white and blue Bulldogs trailed 56-48 at halftime and 73-63 with 2:19 left in the third.

“I don’t know I have ever seen a more resilient team that can bow their necks and show the toughness they have shown,” said head coach Vic Schaefer. “On top of that, they continue to do it in the hardest quarter – the fourth quarter.”

Freshman Rickea Jackson led all scorers with 28 points on 12 of 23 shooting to go along with six rebounds and three steals.

Junior Yemiyah Morris came off the bench and played 18 minutes, finishing with 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

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