By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – For the second time this season, it took overtime to decide the outcome between Mississippi State and Ole Miss in women’s basketball.
For the Bulldogs, Sunday was their second straight extra session, and for the first time this year MSU came out on top in overtime, 72-70. Vic Schaefer’s Bulldogs battled back from a 13-point deficit in the second half to split the series with their state rival.
“It was just a very special day for us and for our players,” Schaefer said. “I’m really happy they have a chance to experience that. This is what college athletics is all about.”
MSU (18-10, 5-9) got a career-best performance from Martha Alwal. The junior center scored 25 points and grabbed 23 rebounds – 11 offensive – while playing all 45 minutes.
“Coach always challenges me to get 20 rebounds,” Alwal said. “Sometimes I take plays off and don’t crash like I should. Today I tried to crash every single time a ball was thrown in the air. As for the points, I was bigger than their entire team and I took advantage of that.”
Savannah Carter added 10 points also playing the entire game for the Bulldogs.
Ole Miss controlled the game in the first half, hitting 7 of 9 behind the arc building a 42-35 lead by halftime. That advantage swelled to 13 points by the 13:25 mark of the second half.
The Bulldogs went on a 26-13 run to close out regulation and force the overtime tied at 68. Alwal and Dominique Dillingham both hit jumpers in overtime for State.
Gracie Frizzell missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer as time expired on the Rebels, who fell to 10-18 and 1-13 in SEC play.
“I’m proud of my kids for fighting and I’ve been on them about toughness and defending,” said Ole Miss coach Matt Insell. “They did a great job today defending. We just didn’t make the plays that we had to there late to win the basketball game.”
Valencia McFarland scored a game-high 29 points and was 5 of 6 behind the arc for the Rebels. Tia Faleru had a double-double with 29 points and 14 rebounds.
The Bulldogs continue their homestand Thursday against Kentucky at 7 p.m. while Ole Miss travels to Missouri at 7 p.m.