NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)Jessika Carter scored 10 of her 22 points in the first quarter and ninth-ranked Mississippi State held off Vanderbilt 68-52 Thursday night for a rare victory at Memorial Gym.
The Bulldogs (17-3, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) bounced back quickly from their 81-79 loss at No. 1 South Carolina on Monday night by notching their seventh straight win against Vanderbilt. This was just the fifth time Mississippi State has won in 24 games at Memorial.
Mississippi State rallied after trailing 50-46 after the third quarter. The Bulldogs took control in the fourth, outscoring Vandy 22-2, and Xaria Wiggins’ driving layup with 6:14 left put them ahead to stay at 54-52. With a chance at a big upset, short-handed Vanderbilt hit only 1 of 11 shots in the quarter.
Aliyah Matharu scored 14 points for Mississippi State, and Jordan Danberry added 10.
Vanderbilt (12-7, 2-4) has lost three straight, all at home to ranked teams. The Commodores are 0-4 against ranked teams this season and have lost 26 straight overall.
Koi Love led Vanderbilt with 19 points.
Mississippi State looked ready to rout Vanderbilt when leading 24-14 after the first quarter. The Bulldogs used their significant size advantage to scoreover and over insidethe paint with 22 of their 24 points coming there. They also used their speed to force Vanderbilt into eight turnovers, which they turned into 10 easy points.
Carter spent much of the second quarter on the bench with two fouls, and Myah Taylor got her third with 3:59 left in the quarter.
Mississippi State took its biggest lead of the game at 29-18 on Matharu’s 3 with 5:25 left. Without Carter on the floor, Vanderbilt was able to get into the paint and finished on a 12-2 run capped by a pair of free throws by Jordyn Cambridge with 25.5 seconds left to trail only 31-30 at halftime.
The Commodores scored six straight and took their first lead of the game with 6:38 left when LeaLea Carter missed her second free throw. Vandy got the rebound, and Love hit a 3-pointer to put Vandy up 36-33. The Commodores hit all three of their 3s in the quarter, two by Kiara Pearl off the bench, and led 50-46 after the third quarter.
Then Mississippi State finished off the win.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs dominated in the paint outscoring Vandy 48-18, and they also had a 31-14 scoring edge off 26 turnovers. That made up for a dismal 1-of-8 performance outside the arc.
Vanderbilt: Credit coach Stephanie White with pulling her team together with injuries knocking three players out for the season and forward Autumn Newby missing her second game with her own injury. The Commodores dominated on the boards 42-32, including 18 offensive rebounds.
Mississippi State starts a three-game home stand Sunday against Ole Miss.
Vanderbilt: Visits Alabama on Sunday.
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