The Georgia Lady Bulldogs basketball team built a fourth quarter lead but could not withstand a furious Mississippi State comeback in a 80-71 loss late Thursday night at Humphrey Coliseum.
Down by nine at the half, Georgia came out and hit timely shots to grab a 66-63 lead with just over six minutes remaining. MSU then heated up, while the Lady Bulldogs from Athens missed their last 10 shots after opening the second half by hitting 16 of 22 (72.7%).
Georgia falls to 11-5 overall and 2-1 in the SEC. Seventh-ranked Mississippi State improves to 15-1 and 3-0 in the league.
“This one hurts,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “Our kids played extremely hard. We were locked in against a very good Mississippi State team. My hope is that our team realizes that if you can come on the road and play like this, you can play with anybody. We have to bounce back and get ready for the next one.”
MSU’s Chloe Bibby drilled two 3-pointers from the same spot on the floor to give her team an early 8-2 lead. State led 13-6 midway through the first, but a 6-0 run by Georgia narrowed the gap to one.
Georgia finished the first quarter with a 62-percent clip from the floor and trailed 21-18. The Lady Bulldogs then committed three turnovers on successive trips, and MSU capitalized with a 7-0 run in the second quarter. The lead would then bulge to a game high 14, as State led 35-21.
For the game, MSU outscored Georgia on points off turnovers 30-9.
Behind Caliya Robinson, who had a game-high 26, and guards Gabby Connally and Taja Cole, Georgia fought back and trailed by nine at intermission, 42-33.
Hot-shooting Georgia came out on fire in the third quarter as Cole and Connally hit a pair of baskets. A 3-pointer by Connally, the reigning SEC Co-Player of the Week along with State’s Jordan Danberry, cut MSU’s lead to 46-44.
From there, the Lady Bulldogs continued to hang tough and, thanks to a Robinson bucket with three seconds on the clock, only trailed 59-57 at the end of three.
Connally’s clutch shooting paid off the in fourth as she nailed a basket to tie the game at 61-61 with just eight minutes to go. Georgia took a 66-63 lead, but MSU took control down the stretch with a 13-2 run to seal the game.
Bibby had a career best 24 points to lead Mississippi State, while All-American center Tierra McCowan had 18 points and 21 rebounds.
Next up, Georgia hosts Tennessee at 3 p.m. ET this Sunday at Stegeman Coliseum.