February 10, 2014 10:45:13 AM
AUBURN, Ala. -- The Mississippi State women's basketball team was unable to strong first half showing hold up Sunday afternoon, falling on the road to Auburn, 51-43.
After sprinting to an eight-point halftime advantage, MSU managed only four field goals in the second half. Earlier in the season, MSU could not make a 13-point first-half lead stand up in a home loss to Auburn. Once again, the Tigers turned up the defensive pressure, quickly erased the halftime deficit and were able to complete the season sweep.
Auburn improved to 13-10 and 4-6 in league play, while MSU fell to 16-9 and 3-8.
The Bulldogs were held to 15 points in the second half but were also hampered by 27 turnovers.
"They make you play a little unorthodox," MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. "We obviously didn't make shots. We didn't execute very well and we had some untimely turnovers. There for a while, we couldn't get stops. When we got stops, we couldn't score."
MSU grabbed its first lead at 13-11 on a jumper by Martha Alwal with 10:20 left in the first half. The teams were tied at 15-15 before MSU held Auburn to one field goal the final 9:17 of the half.
Alwal hit a pair of baskets to highlight MSU's half-ending 13-5 run. The Bulldogs eased out to a 28-20 advantage at halftime.
Auburn scored the first six points of the second half. The Tigers pulled even at 30-30 on a basket by Kiani Parker with 14:54 left in the contest. Auburn eventually opened the half with a 16-4 run to build a 36-32 lead.
The Bulldogs were still down four points with 7:10 left in the contest. The lead was down to two at 43-41 after two free throws by Alwal with 4:08 left. Breanna Richardson cut the deficit back to 45-43 on a basket with 2:25 left.
However, MSU was unable to garner the game-tying points.
MSU was 15 of 46 from the field (32.6 percent), 2 of 7 shots from 3-point range (28.6), and 11 of 18 from the free thrown line (61.1). Auburn was 16 of 48 from the field (33.3), 0 of 5 from 3-point range, and 19 of 25 from the free throw line (76.0).
Auburn held a 36-32 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 11 assists and 27 turnovers, while the Tigers had seven assists and 24 turnovers.
Tyrese Tanner had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead Auburn.
Alwal paced MSU with 14 points. Dominique Dillingham led the Bulldogs with seven rebounds, one off her season high.
"We had some really good effort today from some individuals," Schaefer said. "We had some times today when four players were getting it done defensively, and it is game of five. That is when it gets frustrating."
MSU will play host to Vanderbilt at 1 p.m. Sunday (SEC TV) at Humphrey Coliseum. Fans are encouraged to wear pink as part of MSU's annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game.