STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/ Hail State Communications) – Mississippi State fell to West Virginia, 71-65, after a tough fourth quarter on both ends of the floor Sunday at Humphrey Coliseum.
The Bulldogs (8-2) shot just 14 percent from the field in the final period after erasing an 8-point halftime deficit in the third quarter. WVU (6-1) was 8-of-16 from the floor in the quarter and knocked down a pair of big threes to claim the win.
West Virginia dominated the glass all game long, holding a 46-34 advantage on the boards and grabbing 17 offensive rebounds. State couldn't connect on its free throws during the contest, going 15-of-30 from the charity stripe. MSU also ended with 17 turnovers in the game, which WVU turned into 26 points compared to just 12 points off turnovers for the Bulldogs.
Jordan Danberry led all scorers with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting to go along with six rebounds. Rickea Jackson continued her strong play with 15 points and a career-high nine rebounds. Jessika Carter rounded out the double-digit scorers for the team with 11 points and eight boards.
West Virginia had four double-figure scorers in the game and was led by Kirsten Deans' 17 points off the bench.
Both teams had a slow start to the game, offensively. The Bulldogs held West Virginia to 29 percent shooting from the field, but six offensive rebounds helped the Mountaineers take a 13-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
After State regained the lead with an 8-2 run, WVU used a 13-2 swing to pull ahead by double digits. Deans came off the bench for West Virginia to drop eight points in the quarter behind a pair of 3-pointers to fuel the offense. Turnovers plagued the Bulldogs in the first half, recording 11 while only posting five assists.
A jumper as time expired by Danberry cut the Mountaineers' lead to 36-28 at halftime. She led all players at the break with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Carter and Jackson each added six points to pace the offense.
The third quarter belonged to Mississippi State, as the offense caught fire. The Bulldogs shot a blazing 82 percent (9-of-11) from the floor to rally from the eight-point deficit at intermission. On defense, State held West Virginia to 27-percent shooting, allowing MSU to take a 55-49 lead at the end of the third period.
The Mountaineers bounced back early in the fourth frame, using a 6-0 run to tie things up at 55-55 with 7:40 left and forcing State to use a timeout. MSU got baskets on two of its next three possessions, but after that, the Bulldogs didn't have a bucket for the remaining 6:08 of the contest. Mississippi State was 2-of-14 from the field in the period, while West Virginia shot 50 percent to outscore MSU 22-10 in the fourth quarter and win the Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup.
Up next, Mississippi State will head to Louisiana for a matchup on Monday, Dec. 16, at 11 a.m. The Bulldogs then head to Las Vegas for the Duel in the Desert tournament.