AUBURN, Ala. (AP)Mississippi State surged from behind after struggling most of the way, and Rickea Jackson took over in overtime.
The freshman scored nine of her season-high 34 points in OT and the ninth-ranked Bulldogs rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat Auburn 92-85 on Thursday night.
Mississippi State (23-4, 11-2 Southeastern Conference) rebounded from a loss at No. 14 Kentucky with its second straight comeback win over the Tigers (9-15, 3-10).
”They came out and really punched us and punched us and punched us,” Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said. ”We really struggled for three quarters.
”But I told our team tonight in pregame we were going to find out something about our team.”
Jackson took over this one with nine of the Bulldogs’ 13 points in overtime. She hit a short jumper and then made 1 of 2 free throws with 20 seconds left for a 90-85 lead.
Jamya Mingo-Young added two more foul shots.
Jackson, who topped her previous high by 10 points, made 14 of 22 shots.
”She’s a different kind of freshman,” Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. ”I thought she put them on her back in overtime and just was relentless and was not going to let them lose.
”She was shooting the ball, offensive rebounding. I don’t think they really did anything different (in overtime). I think she upped her game and wasn’t going to allow them to lose.”
Jessika Carter added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who trailed by 14 with less than four minutes left in the third quarter.
Unique Thompson led Auburn with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Daisa Alexander scored 21 and made all 12 foul shots. Robyn Benton scored 14 and Lauren Hansen 13.
The Bulldogs had rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit against Auburn on Jan. 30 to win 78-73 and topped it this time. They made their last seven shots of the third quarter to start the comeback.
Alexander tied the game 79-all on a pair of free throws with 45 seconds left in regulation and neither team scored after that. Andra Espinoza missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer after Mississippi State forced a 10-second violation.
In the end, the Bulldogs avoided a second straight loss.
”We just lost to Kentucky,” Carter said of the team’s mentality after falling behind. ”We can’t lose two in a row so just knowing we had to find a way to win.”
Mississippi State shot 36 of 65 (55.4%) and outrebounded Auburn 38-26. Has won seven of its last eight games.
Auburn had a stretch of nearly eight minutes without a field goal stretching well into overtime. Alexander and Thompson combined for 24 of the Tigers first 28 points.
FREE THROWS Both teams shot well from the free throw line. Mississippi State made 17 of 22 foul shots (77.3%). Auburn was even better, hitting 28 of 31 (90.3%).
Mississippi St. hosts Alabama on Sunday afternoon.
Auburn visits No. 16 Texas A&M Sunday afternoon.