Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

No. 6 Bulldogs rally to defeat Iowa State in overtime

AMES, Iowa - Down 17 at halftime, the No. 6 Mississippi State women's basketball team roared to the finish line of a thrilling 85-81 overtime win against Iowa State in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge Saturday afternoon at Hilton Coliseum. MSU improved to 8-0, while handing Iowa State (5-1) its first defeat of the season. The victory also snapped Iowa State's 96-game non-conference home win streak.(Article Source: MSU Athletics Media Relations)

It was the first time since 2012 that Mississippi State rallied to win after trailing by 10 or more at the intermission.

"That was one heck of a basketball game," MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. "You have to take your hat off to Iowa State because they have an outstanding basketball team. They had a week to get ready for us. I have been in here so many times. I knew what was coming. In the first half, they really took it to us."

"In the second half, our post players were great. We did a lot better job of defending them in the second half. We were still down 11 with five to play. In the fourth quarter, we executed defensively. I hang my hat on defense and we were not very good out there until the end. Give credit to Iowa State."

The Bulldogs actually started strong with back-to-back baskets by Breanna Richardson and Chinwe Okorie that staked the team to a 13-8 lead. Iowa State scored the game's next seven points to lead 15-13 after one quarter.

MSU was back within one at 17-16 on a 3-pointer by Roshunda Johnson.

From there, Iowa State had the better of things for the rest of the half. The Cyclones scored 10 straight points for a 27-16 lead.

A 3-pointer by Victoria Vivians cut the deficit to 27-21 with 5:29 left in the half. Iowa State followed with six straight points and would stretch the lead to 17 at 43-26 at halftime.

The Bulldogs turned things in their favor on the defensive end in the final 20 minutes. Part of that defensive stand included holding Jadda Buckley to just two points on 1 of 7 shooting after she tallied 17 in the opening 20 minutes.

A 3-pointer by Blair Schaefer had MSU within nine at 48-39 with 4:37 left in the third quarter. Iowa State regrouped though and pushed the lead to 15 in the final minute of the third quarter.

A layup by Morgan William had the Bulldogs within seven at 60-53 with 8:32 left in regulation. The Bulldogs still trailed by eight with three minutes left.

The comeback was completed on a 3-pointer by Morgan William with 36 seconds left in regulation and a game-tying 3-pointer from Johnson with 10 seconds left.

"Ro was built for that moment," Schaefer said. "Great players are built for that moment. She wanted the shot. Morgan gave her a great pass. We had fought so hard to be in that position. In the overtime, I felt like we were in good shape. When you have been up for so long in a game and then it is tied, it is hard to get that momentum back."

In the overtime, the Maroon and White took the lead for good on a basket by Okorie with 3:43 left.

MSU placed five players in double figures. William had a season-high 24 points, while Vivians had 16 points. Johnson had 15 points in her first start of the season. Okorie and Richardson each added 10 points. Okorie recorded her first double-double of the season as she gathered a team-high 11 rebounds. William had five assists.

For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 31 of 64 shots from the field (48.4 percent), 7 of 17 shots from 3-point range (41.2 percent) and 16 of 23 shots from the foul line (69.6 percent). The Cyclones hit 26 of 53 shots from the field (49.1 percent), 10 of 15 shots from 3-point range (66.7 percent) and 19 of 21 shots from the foul line (90.5 percent).

MSU held a 31-27 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 13 assists and 13 turnovers, while the Cyclones had 16 assists and 18 turnovers.

Seanna Johnson led Iowa State with 21 points while Buckley ended up with 19 points. Bridget Carleton had 17 points and Emily Durr tallied 13 points. Johnson also had a team-high eight rebounds.

Mississippi State breaks for final exams before returning to the road Dec. 10 to face Southern Miss at 2 p.m.

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