Schaefer: “When It Got Tight, We Answered.”


STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics) – No. 7/6 Mississippi State women’s basketball survived a stern test with an 80-71 against Georgia on Thursday night in Humphrey Coliseum.

The homestanding Bulldogs trailed 68-65 with 6:12 to play, but held Georgia (11-5, 2-1 SEC) without a field goal the rest of the way while outscoring them 15-3.

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MSU (15-1, 3-0 SEC) has now recorded 29 consecutive home wins, with 19 straight in conference play.

“Proud of our last five minutes,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “We had a stretch where we weren’t very good. Hats off to Georgia. Their guard play was exceptional. We started out okay. Chloe (Bibby) made some big shots early. We hit a lull after being up nine at the half. They had more juice than we did tonight.”

Chloe Bibby led the offensive attack with her second 20-point game and a career-high 24-point night while playing the full 40 minutes for the third time this year. Teaira McCowan recorded her 13th double-double this season with 18 points and 21 rebounds, including 13 on the offensive glass. Anriel Howard added 18 points, while Jordan Danberry had 12 points.

Playing before a late-night crowd of 6,493, the homestanding Bulldogs started strong. A 3-pointer by Bibby sent the Bulldogs to an early 8-2 lead. The lead would then grown to seven at 13-6 on a jumper in the lane by Bibby. She was perfect from the field with 10 points through the first 10 minutes.

Georgia responded with the next six points for a one-point deficit. Tearia McCowan scored a putback to run the lead back out to 21-16. MSU led 21-18 after one quarter.

In the second quarter, Howard scored back-to-back baskets to cap a 14-3 run for a 35-21 lead with 4:57 left in the half. Georgia chipped away in the closing minutes of the frame to trim State’s lead to 42-33 at halftime.

In the second half, a Georgia run made things interesting down the stretch, pulling the visiting Bulldogs within two points, trailing 46-44 with 6:46 left in the third quarter. State responded with a 7-2 run to extend its lead to 53-46. MSU carried a 59-57 lead into the final quarter.

Georgia claimed its first lead at 64-63 with 7:26 remaining. A layup by Howard gave the Maroon and White the lead for good at 69-68 with 4:18 left. An old-fashioned 3-point play pushed the lead to four at 72-68.

“When it came down to the end, our veterans were clutch,” Schaefer said. “Jazzmun (Holmes) Hit a big shot there in lane late. Chloe (Bibby) carried us in the first half. Proud of how we finished when it wasn’t our best night.”

MSU held a 38-35 rebounding advantage along with 14 assists and 10 turnovers. State forced the visitors into 22 turnovers.

Georgia received 26 points from Caliya Robinson, 16 points from Taja Cole and 13 points from Gabby Connally. Stephanie Paul had a team-high seven rebounds.

MSU will play at Auburn at 6 p.m. CT on Monday. The game will be shown nationally on the SEC Network.