Auburn was in control Thursday night, for three periods at least.
The Tigers had a 14-point lead midway through the 3rd period, and then the talent of No. 9 Mississippi State took over. The Tigers eventually fell in overtime, 92-85, and drop to 9-15 (3-10 Southeastern Conference) on the season.
“I thought our kids played well. Kept fighting. Gave them everything they could,” said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy.
The Tigers looked poised with the lead for much of the game of the game until 2:00 left in the 3rd period. Mississippi State went on a six-point run at the end of the 3rd to cut Auburn’s lead to one, and then followed it with a 9-2 run in the middle of the 4th that put them in front for the rest of the game.
“Auburn played hard. They came out and punched us and punched us,” said Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer.
The Tigers looked the better team for most of the contest, but the talent on Mississippi State’s roster proved to be too much. Specifically, its freshman talent, Rickea Jackson.
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“She’s a different kind of freshman…she put them on her back,” Williams-Flournoy said.
The defense struggled to put together enough stops as the game wore on. Desperate fouling arose in the paint as the Bulldogs started to dominate inside. Mississippi State dominated the rebounding category in the second half, leading with a margin of 15-8 on the glass.
Junior Unique Thompson had a stellar first half. Thompson had 15 points and nine rebounds at the half.
“Unique was killing them,” Williams-Flournoy said.
Thompson struggled in the second half as she closed the game with just three points in the final two periods.
“The weak-side help was literally sitting right there in the paint… They had to do something,” Williams-Flournoy said.
Thompson added two rebounds in the second half to get her 40th double-double of her career now, tying DeWanna Bonner for the most in Auburn history.
Senior Daisa Alexander and freshman Lauren Hansen carried the Tigers offensively in the second half. Alexander put up 12 points in the second half, with 10 coming from the free-throw line. Alexander finished the night with 21 total points. The freshman Hansen went 5-for-5 from the floor in the second, and 3-for-3 from behind the arc. Hansen scored all 13 of her points in the second half.
Auburn will look to bounce back from this tough loss at No. 16 Texas A&M (21-5, 9-4 SEC) on Feb. 23.
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