It may not have been the Lady Vols of old, sporting a top-five ranking, that came into Starkville, but Thursday night at the Humphrey Coliseum, the No. 13 Mississippi State Bulldogs picked up their first victory over No. 19 Tennessee in women's basketball, snapping an 0-36 skid against one of the all-time dominate programs in the SEC.
As one might expect, ending a streak this long would take a little extra work, and the Bulldogs put in that extra work in the 65-63 overtime victory.
The first half proved to be a neck and neck competition as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 17-16 first quarter lead. Tennessee reversed the scores in the second quarter to send the teams to the half tied at 33. Tennessee's Jordan Reynolds, who led the team with 15 points, nailed a three at the buzzer to tie the game before the teams went to the locker room.
The Lady Vols dominated the third quarter, outscoring Mississippi State 22-10 to take a 12 point lead into the final frame. The fans in attendance and the players on the court could have been forgiven for thinking this would be yet another outcome that saw an early, valiant effort come up short.
However, Thursday night proved to be different as the Bulldogs clamped down on defense to get back into the contest.
The Bulldogs (18-4, 5-3), trailing 55-43 to start the final frame, held Tennessee (12-8, 3-4) to just three points in the fourth quarter, allowing only one basket in eight shots. Mississippi State also scored the final seven points of the quarter to force overtime at 58-58
In the overtime period, Tennessee took a 62-61 lead, but Chinwe Okorie put the Bulldogs ahead 63-62 with just under two minutes to play. Morgan William, who scored, hit a jumper to push the lead to 65-62 for Mississippi State. Tennessee's Diamond DeShields hit one free throw on a trip to the charity stripe to make the score 65-63, and Tennessee had the ball with 17 seconds left to play in the contest. The Lady Vols Te'a Cooper missed a layup, and Dominique Dillingham secured the rebound, giving the victory to the Bulldogs.
Victoria Vivians and Dillingham paced the Bulldogs with 14 points. William picked up eleven points, and Okorie added ten points.