STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — There hasn’t been much that’s separated Alabama from winning as many as 10 games in the Southeastern Conference.
The Crimson Tide entered Mississippi State’s raucous Humphrey Coliseum on Sunday having lost four games by five points or fewer. This time, the Crimson Tide wouldn’t be denied.
Megan Abrams tipped in a missed shot as time expired and Alabama shocked the ninth-ranked Bulldogs and 8,083 fans in attendance with a 66-64 win.
“We just turned the tide a little bit,” Alabama coach Kristy Curry said. “This is a hard league to get confidence no matter what you’re telling them. We hope we’ll take some confidence into College Station (at Texas A&M) and see what happens this next week.”
Mississippi State (23-5, 10-3 SEC) has been flirting with disaster routinely the last few weeks. The Bulldogs lost their second game of the conference slate last Sunday at Kentucky but survived against Texas A&M and Auburn.
Frustratingly for coach Vic Schaefer, his team was in position to put the game away in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs took a two point lead late in the third and used an 11-0 run to extend it to 13 by the 6-minute mark before things fell apart.
“I thought their kids out-toughed us and outplayed us most of the day,” Schaefer said. “We got what we deserved. We had plenty of opportunities.”
Alabama (16-11, 6-8) stayed in the game thanks to 3-point shooting. The Crimson Tide made 9 of 14 compared to Mississippi State’s 1 of 8.
Jasmine Walker led the Crimson Tide’s rally. After going 0 for 5 in the first half, Walker scored all 20 of her points in the last two periods on 8-of-11 shooting and she hit all four of her 3-pointers.
Walker’s biggest contributions came when the team was trailing by 13. She scored 10 points in an 11-0 run to get the team back within two. The Tide eventually went ahead 64-63 in the final 30 seconds.
“We couldn’t get stops,” Schaefer said. “When it gets hard and it gets tough in the past, that’s when it gets tough for us but that’s not the case with us. I’ve got to do a better job in those moments of letting them know this is when we dig in.”
Mississippi State’s Andra Espinoza-Hunter made 1 of 2 free throws with 5 seconds remaining.
Alabama’s Jordan Lewis attempted a floated that slid off the side of the rim and onto the fingertips of Abrams, who put it in before time expired.
Lewis had 17 points for Alabama and Cierra Johnson finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Jessika Carter had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulldogs. Jackson finished with 15 points.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide finally got the upset win they’d come close to several times this season, including losses to Kentucky and Texas A&M.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs rallied from double-digit deficits to beat Texas A&M and Auburn, but their recent inconsistency led to a second loss in four games.
Alabama plays at Texas A&M on Thursday.
Mississippi State hosts Arkansas on Thursday.
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