STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP)Freshman Rickea Jackson and Mississippi State overcame slow starts to finish strong against Georgia.
Jackson had a career-high 24 points, and the No. 8 Bulldogs ran past Georgia 67-53 on Monday night.
Jackson followed a 22-point effort against Auburn by posting her second consecutive career high. She began 3 for 11 from the field but hit her final five shots.
”It was just a matter of me knocking it down,” Jackson said. ”When my teammates keep giving me the ball and have confidence in me, it gives me more confidence.”
Jessika Carter added 15 points and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes for her eighth double-double this season.
The Bulldogs (20-3, 8-1 Southeastern Conference) shot just 4 of 19 shooting in the first quarter and trailed 15-11 before taking control by outscoring Georgia 23-10 in the second quarter and 22-13 in the third.
Five of the previous six series meetings were decided by single digits. Mississippi State won four of those games, includes last month’s 73-66 road win at Georgia, but much easier after the shaky beginning.
”It just seems like our games are always ugly,” Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said. ”We played pretty clean (Monday). I was proud of our defense. When you see us play, you’re always watching two well-prepared teams and are really competitive. That’s why you get the tough games that we play.”
The Bulldogs committed just nine turnovers and forced 25 by Georgia, scoring 24 points off those mistakes.
”I thought we were pretty locked in (Monday),” Schaefer said. ”Our execution in that first quarter wasn’t too good, but we were pretty locked in. We were really focused.”
Que Morrison had 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Georgia (12-10, 3-6), which lost point guard and leading scorer Gabby Connally in the first half with a cut on her eye after a collision with Mississippi State’s Jordan Danberry.
Connally received stitches at a hospital, and coach Joni Taylor said after the game that there were no other issues. The coach added that Connally’s absence factored into her team committing so many turnovers.
”When you don’t have your primary point guard it becomes difficult,” Taylor said. ”We didn’t handle that very well. We’ve got to take better care of the basketball.”
Maya Caldwell added 12 points for Georgia.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs have things to work on as the schedule gets tougher with upcoming matchups against Tennessee and Texas A&M and a visit to Kentucky over the next three games.
Georgia: The Bulldogs have given Mississippi State fits but couldn’t protect the ball and struggled to score. They have lost three consecutive games, all against top-15 teams.
Mississippi State visits No. 22 Tennessee on Thursday.
Georgia hosts Missouri on Thursday.
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