STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) – Chloe Bibby scored a career-high 24 points, Teaira McCowan added 18 points and 21 rebounds and No. 7 Mississippi State survived an upset scare with an 80-71 win over Georgia on Thursday night.
Mississippi State (15-1, 3-0) Southeastern Conference) needed a rally in the final minutes after finding itself in the rare position of trailing at home. Mississippi State was behind 68-65 with six minutes left before scoring the next 11 points.
Anriel Howard added 18 points, including five during the decisive rally.
Georgia (11-5, 2-1) trailed 42-33 at halftime, but pulled within 59-57 by the end of the third quarter. Georgia went ahead 64-63 early in the fourth quarter after Taja Cole made a layup while being fouled and also made the free throw.
But the opportunity for an upset faded with poor shot selection in the final minutes. The Bulldogs’ 22 turnovers were also a problem.
Caliya Robinson led Georgia with 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting.
Mississippi State’s halftime advantage was largely thanks to Bibby’s 17 points. The Australian forward was 5 of 7 from the field before the break, including 3 of 3 from 3-point range.
Georgia shot 14 of 24 (58.3 percent) from the field in the first half, but also had 14 turnovers.
Georgia: The Bulldogs had their chances and had a terrific offensive night, shooting better than 60 percent from the field well into the fourth quarter. Coach Joni Taylor will likely be frustrated with her team’s shot selection down the stretch, but this game is still a sign that her team could be a factor in the SEC.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs got a big scare on their home floor after looking disinterested for a big chunk of the night. Howard and McCowan came alive in the final minutes to help secure the win. Bibby’s scoring touch could be a bonus for Mississippi State in SEC play.
Georgia returns home to face Tennessee on Sunday.
Mississippi State travels to face Auburn on Monday.