STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Jessika Carter scored 19 points and Myah Taylor scored the last four as No. 14 Mississippi State fended off an upset bid from in-state rival Ole Miss, 60-56 Sunday night.
Coming into the 100th meeting in the series, the Rebels hadn’t won a game in Starkville since 2007, nor defeated the Bulldogs in the last 14 tries.
But Sunday, Donnetta Johnson and Valerie Nesbitt each reached career highs in scoring, Johnson with 25 and Nesbitt 18. The pair did some heavy lifting late, scoring 16 of Ole Miss’ 18 points in the fourth quarter.
A Nesbitt drive sliced what had been a 12-point Mississippi State lead down to 58-56 with a minute left.
Nesbitt stole the ball from Taylor with 29 seconds left, but Johnson’s jumper was just short at five seconds and Ole Miss never got the ball again.
Taylor stamped the win with two free throws with 0.4 seconds on the clock. She added 10 points, eight assists and four steals for Mississippi State (8-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference).
Aliyah Matharu added 16 points off the bench for the the Bulldogs, who who shot 38% (21 of 55) and scored 18 points of 15 Ole Miss turnovers. The Bulldogs had 14 assists.
Leading 31-27 halftime, the Bulldogs opened up in the third quarter. Matharu sidestepped an onrushing defender and swished a 3-pointer that kicked off Mississippi State’s 16-5 run. The Bulldogs led 50-38 headed into the final quarter.
Ole Miss (7-2, 1-2) trailed at the half for first time this season, and the 31 points were the most allowed in a first half.
Ole Miss hosts Mizzou on Thursday. Mississippi State hosts Alabama on Thursday in a showdown of teams 3-1 in the SEC.
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