Alabama knocks off No. 14 Mississippi State women 86-78

NCAA Basketball

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP)Jordan Lewis scored 11 of her 22 points in the fourth quarter and Alabama came on strong after halftime to bump off No. 14 Mississippi State 86-78 Thursday night.

The last time the Crimson Tide (11-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) were in Starkville, they edged Mississippi State, 66-64, on Feb. 23.

Thursday, the Tide shook off a horrid second quarter, in which they were just 12.5% shooting – 2 of 16 from the field, 2 of 11 from 3-point distance – and went into halftime trailing by 11 (44-33).

The win, Alabama’s third in a row, moves it alone into second place in the SEC behind fifth-ranked South Carolina’s 4-0.

Alabama outscored the Bulldogs (8-3, 3-2) 53-34 in the second half, beginning the climb as Lewis hit a 3-pointer and minutes later added a three-point play. The Tide had cut the gap to 62-61 by the end of three.

Lewis scored, was fouled and converted the three-point play for an Alabama 64-62 lead in the opening minute of the fourth quarter and her jumper with 6:36 to play gave Alabama the lead for good at 68-67.

Megan Abrams added 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting, Jasmine Walker scored 17 with 10 rebounds, and Ariyah Copeland added 11 points and 13 boards. The Tide made 17 of 21 free throws.

Myah Taylor and Rickea Jackson scored 15 apiece to lead the Bulldogs. Jessika Carter added 10. Freshman Madison Hayes added nine in her first start.

Alabama shot 59% in the second half to Mississippi State’s 40%. The Bulldogs were hot out of the gate, shooting 69% and leading 22-21 after a quarter.

Mississippi State travels to seventh-ranked Texas A&M Sunday. Alabama hosts Tennessee on Sunday.

More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.

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