Rickea Jackson had 14 points and nine rebounds as No. 8 Mississippi State defeated No. 23 Tennessee 72-55 for its fifth straight win
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. —
Rickea Jackson had 14 points and nine rebounds as No. 8 Mississippi State defeated No. 23 Tennessee on Thursday for its fifth straight win.
Chloe Bibby scored 13 points and Jordan Danberry and Yemiyah Morris each added 11 for Mississippi State.
Tennessee played without leading scorer Rennia Davis. School officials said she was recovering from the flu and hadn’t participated in any team activities since playing in a 69-48 loss at No. 1 South Carolina on Sunday. Davis averages 18.1 points to rank second in the Southeastern Conference.
Sophomore guard Rae Burrell made her first start of the season in place of Davis and collected 20 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Horston scored 12 points and Jazmine Massengill added 11 for Tennessee.
Mississippi State (21-3, 9-1 SEC) has won seven of its last eight meetings with Tennessee (17-6, 7-3). Before this eight-game stretch, Tennessee had won all 36 matchups in this series.
Burrell scored nine points in the first 10 minutes to help Tennessee own a 21-19 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
Mississippi State seized control by going on a 17-2 run during the second quarter. The Bulldogs led by as many as 13 points in the second period and carried a 38-30 halftime advantage.
Tennessee continued to stay relatively close early in the second half before Danberry had seven points during an 11-1 spurt that allowed Mississippi State to extend its lead to 56-40 by the end of the third quarter.
The margin didn’t drop below 11 the rest of the way.
Tennessee wore T-shirts honoring Kobe Bryant during pregame warmups. The black shirts featured an illustration of the former Los Angeles Lakers star that was designed by Tennessee men’s basketball player Jalen Johnson.
Johnson’s illustration appeared on the Thompson-Boling Arena video board as a moment of silence was held in honor of Bryant, one of nine people killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs showcased their depth by winning on a night when they didn’t necessarily get complete performances from their three leading scorers this season: Jackson, Danberry and Jessika Carter. Jackson, who had been shooting 51.3% in conference play this season, went just 5 of 18. Danberry was scoreless in the first half and foul trouble limited Carter to 16 minutes. Yet the Bulldogs still found a way to win easily.
Tennessee: This game shaped up as a matchup problem for the Lady Vols because of turnovers. Tennessee entered the night having committed 97 turnovers over its last five games, while Mississippi State forces the most turnovers of any SEC team. Tennessee did a nice job of taking care of the ball in the first quarter, when it had nine baskets and just three turnovers. But the Lady Vols had 20 turnovers and 12 baskets the rest of the way.
Mississippi State hosts No. 16 Texas A&M on Sunday.
Tennessee hosts LSU on Thursday.
Follow Steve Megargee on Twitter at @SteveMegargee
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