STARKVILLE, Miss. (UT Release) - Tennessee remained perfect all-time against Mississippi State, but it didn't come without a fight. The #12/10 Lady Vols withstood the feisty Bulldogs to post a 67-63 victory at The Hump on Thursday night.
Tennessee is a now a perfect 35-0 all-time vs. Mississippi State including a 16-0 record on the Bulldogs home floor.
Bashaara Graves (13), Ariel Massengale (13) and Isabelle Harrison (10) topped Tennessee's scoring chart as the Lady Vols improved to 14-3 and 3-2 in the conference.
Mississippi State (14-4, 1-3 SEC) was led by Kendra Grant's 21 points. Katia May (14) and Martha Alwal (10) also scored in double-figures.
The Lady Vols led for the final 34 minutes of the game, but MSU was within eight points for the entire second half. The Bulldogs cut their deficit to three in the final minute at 62-59 on a jumper by May with 53 seconds left. But, the Lady Vols got hot from the field to secure the win.
Tennessee made nine of their final 11 field goal attempts -- including six in row -- late in the game to continue to maintain a narrow advantage.
Andraya Carter's layup on a back-door cut with 35 seconds left off a feed from Harrison gave the Lady Vols a 64-59 lead. Breanna Richardson converted two free throws for the Bulldogs with 26.4 on the clock to close the margin to three again at 64-61. Graves made one of two foul shots with 23.7 on the clock to put UT up 65-61. Then Massengale made a pair with 20.3 left to put the Lady Vols ahead 67-61. Savannah Carter knocked down a jumper with six seconds left, but it was too little too late the MSU.
Tennessee outrebounded Mississippi State, 35-31, but no Lady Vol corralled more than five boards. Five different players had five.
The Lady Vols led 26-23 at the half. It was a tough shooting half for both teams as they combined to shoot 34.4 and made a total of 1-of-13 from 3-point range.
Graves and Alwal each led their teams with eight points apiece.
Tennessee used a 12-2 lead to take a 20-12 lead midway through the first half. The Lady Vols led for the final 14:26 of the first half.
Tennessee returns home to host No. 2 Notre Dame on ESPN Big Monday Night. The game airs nationally at 7 p.m., on ESPN and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.
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