MSU will play the winner of Monday's West Virginia-Seton Hall contest, with the semis set for Thursday. The Red Wolves will play a consolation game later this week.
Arkansas State (1-1) did cut its deficit to 49-45 with 17:31 to go in the second half on a layup by Hanna Qedan. But even with freshman scoring machine Victoria Vivians in foul trouble, Mississippi State (2-0) found multiple places to turn for offense. Morgan William closed with 29 points and six assists in her second game at MSU; Breanna Richardson tied a career-high with 18 points, and both Vivians and Dominique Dillingham scored 12 points.
The Red Wolves were paced by 28 points, seven assists and four rebounds from Aundrea Gamble, last year's Sun Belt Conference player of the year. Khadija Brown-Haywood had a career-high 15 points, and Qedan added 14 points.
Mississippi State shot a sizzling 9-of-17 from 3-point range and enjoyed a 39-29 advantage in rebounding. Arkansas State shot better than 54 percent from the field, but was slowed by 22 turnovers.