Auburn loses upset bid in overtime to #9 Mississippi State
Auburn, Al. - Auburn gives #9 Mississippi State a scare, but can not hold on as the Bulldogs win in overtime.
In a rematch from the Bulldogs' win on January 30th, where Auburn lost 78-73, the Tigers knew they were capable of upsetting this powerhouse. And boy, did they give them everything they could handle.
Auburn did not back down from the ninth ranked Bulldogs and their defense to start the game. Within the first quarter of the contest alone, there were eight lead changes and four ties. Unique Thompson, Daisa Alexander and Robyn Benton combined for all 23 of Auburn's points in the first quarter. The Tigers would claim an early 23-19 lead after one.
When asked about Thompson's offensive presence early, Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said "We always try to get her the ball...we try to get her the basketball as much as we can."
Auburn would keep the pedal on the medal in the second quarter. The offense continued to look strong especially in transition, from the three and on the free throw line. Despite having no points from their bench, Auburn led Mississippi State 46-35 at halftime in Auburn Arena.
Rickea Jackson was the bright spot in the first twenty minutes for the Bulldogs. She had 11 points and four rebounds.
Mississippi State would not be pushed around anymore as they came out aggressive in the third quarter. A combination of three key blocks on defense and some late shots cut the Auburn lead to five, 62-57.
The visiting Bulldogs would continue their momentum into the fourth, and eventually go on a 7-0 run to put themselves up 71-67 with 4:57 to go. Auburn would also go on a run in the fourth with no made field goals for over three minutes.
Soon after, Myah Taylor would foul out for Mississippi State with 1:50 left. She finished with seven points and six assists. Her teammate Jordan Danberry would join her the next possession and foul out as well. She left the game with nine points and five rebounds.
Auburn would get an important steal with 1:00 to go. Daisa Alexander would take the steal the distance and get fouled on a layup. Her two free throws were good, tying the game at 79 with 44.0 left. The very next possession Auburn would make a defensive stand and gain another steal. Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy quickly called a thirty second timeout to get her team together for what could possibly be the last possession of the game with only 30.4 on the clock.
After some confusion in the back court on the inbounds pass, Auburn would turn the ball over after a ten second back court violation. This gave Mississippi State the ball back in front of their bench with 22.9 remaining.
With their last possession, Mississippi State would miss a three point attempt and end regulation. This game needed five more minutes to determine its winner.
Mississippi State began overtime with a couple of quick baskets and strong defensive stands. It seemed as if every time Auburn would score, State had an immediate answer.
Mississippi State proved why they were the ninth ranked team in the nation in the fourth quarter and overtime, and would go on to edge out Auburn 92-85 in overtime.
"I thought our kids gave them everything that they could" said Coach Flournoy post game. "Our next game is Texas A&M, that is who we are focusing on starting tomorrow."
Rickea Jackson was the game changer for Mississippi State. She scored a career high 34 points to help lift her squad on the road. "I just knew at the end of the day we had to win" said Jackson on her performance.
Auburn drops to 9-15 (3-10) with the loss. Their next game is Sunday, February 23rd at Texas A&M at 3:00 CT on ESPN2.