No. 13 Mississippi State women edge No. 19 Tennessee in OT
STARKVILLE – For 30 years, Mississippi State endured 36 losses and no wins against Tennessee in women’s basketball.
That streak ended on Thursday night.
The No. 13 Bulldogs fought back from a 12-point third quarter deficit to stun the Lady Vols at Humphrey Coliseum in a 65-63 overtime thriller in front of 5,710 fans.
“I really feel blessed. We didn’t play well – the third quarter we were awful,” Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer said. “(Tennessee) made one basket in the fourth quarter. I’m really proud of our kids.”
Dominique Dillingham and Victoria Vivians scored 14 points each for the Bulldogs (18-4, 5-3), who overcame just 3-for-16 shooting from 3-point range.
Morgan William added 11 points, seven assists and four rebounds in 40 minutes of play and Chinwe Okorie had 10 points and eight boards.
Tennessee (12-8, 3-4 SEC) had double digits from three players with Jordan Reynolds leading the way with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
The two teams were even at halftime following a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Jordan Reynolds to quell momentum that MSU built with a 7-1 run to end the second quarter.
A dominating third quarter that saw UT outscore the Bulldogs 22-10 wasn’t enough. MSU returned the favor with a 15-3 fourth quarter to even things up at 58-58 and send the game to the extra period.
William’s tear drop runner in the lane gave MSU a 65-62 lead with one minute remaining in overtime and the Bulldogs’ defense did the job the rest of the overtime period to clinch the win.
MSU’s offensive rebounds were the difference, especially in overtime after an Okorie putback helped the Bulldogs take their final lead.
“Chinwe is slowing down and letting the game happen instead of rushing things,” Schaefer said. “We’ve all seen her rush that but that rebound and putback was huge.
MSU had 20 offensive rebounds in the game with 19 second-chance points.
The Vols had double figure rebounds from both Reynolds and Mercedes Russell but still managed to lose the battle of the boards at 46-42. MSU forced UT into 14 turnovers while having a season-low five of their own.
“It was a great game and I thought both teams fought hard,” Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick said. “Mississippi State did what they needed to do to win the game. We just couldn’t finish the deal.”
In the fourth quarter and overtime periods the Bulldogs outscored the Lady Vols 22-8.
By Robbie Faulk, Associated Press