Lady Tigers fall at Mississippi State

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State's Diamber Johnson scored 17 of her game-high 27 points in the second half, leading the Bulldog (13-6, 3-3 SEC) come-from-behind effort for a 62-57 win over Auburn (10-10, 2-5 SEC) Sunday afternoon at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Miss.

Junior Blanche Alverson scored a team-high 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc while Camille Glymph added 12. Senior Chantel Hilliard, the lone Mississippi native on Auburn's roster, pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.

"We made too many mistakes in the last seven minutes of the game, unnecessary mistakes," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "Maybe we settled in a little bit and went outside of what our offense was giving us and then we turned the ball over or take bad shots, and then it catches up with you."

The Tigers led by as many as 15 points late in the first half, but Mississippi State did not back down. The Bulldogs scored seven unanswered points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Diamber Johnson to cut the lead to 28-20 at halftime.

MSU kept that momentum rolling into the second half, out-scoring Auburn 42-29 in the final 20 minutes. The Tigers were able to hold onto the lead until a Porsha Porter layup put Mississippi State ahead, 44-43, with 12:32 left in the game.

The Bulldogs went up by three before Glymph scored eight straight points, including two 3-pointers, to put the Tigers ahead by five with 6:22 left. Auburn did not surrender the lead until a Porter free throw with 2:00 put the Bulldogs ahead for good. The Tigers were not able to score in the final 2:00, giving up the 62-57 decision.

Turnovers were the key for the MSU comeback as 14 of Auburn's 22 turnovers came in the second half. The Bulldogs scored 22 points off turnovers, compared to 12 from Auburn.

The Tigers did win the rebounding battle, 45-32, including 24 offensive rebounds that went for 16 second-chance points. Auburn had two players with double-digit boards for the first time this season as sophomore Jassany Williams had 10 behind Hilliard's 11.

For the Bulldogs, Kendra Grant scored 15 points, finishing behind Johnson's 27. Freshman Martha Alwal scored nine while tallying team-highs of 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.

Auburn will return to the court Thursday at 6 p.m. CT, as the Tigers host SEC-leader Kentucky (18-2, 7-0 SEC) at Auburn Arena. The Wildcats beat Florida, 57-52, Sunday in Lexington, Ky.