NASHVILLE - Senior guard Darrione Rogers corralled a loose ball rebound and finished a second-chance putback with 17 seconds left in regulation that lifted Mississippi State ahead for the final time in a 63-62 road win over Belmont in the Curb Center on Sunday.
Rogers finished with eight points on 3-6 from the field and 2-4 from behind the arc, but no shot for the transfer was bigger than the late finish after Belmont took a 62-59 lead with 1:42 left in the fourth quarter.
Graduate student center Jessika Carter filled the stat sheet with a team-high 17 points, 13 of which came in the second half, and eight rebounds. Prior to Rogers' heroics, Carter finished a layup in the deep post to pull the deficit back within one at 62-61 with 1:14 left in regulation.
Senior guard Jerkaila Jordan added 13 points and eight rebounds, while graduate student guard Lauren Park-Lane posted eight points, four rebounds and two assists. Carter, Jordan and Park-Lane all played more than 35 minutes in the effort.
With the win, Mississippi State earned its first road win and improved to 5-0 overall on the season. Mississippi State is also now 4-2 in contests decided by five points or less under head coach Sam Purcell. c
Mississippi State earned a 12-8 lead at the first media timeout behind four quick points from Park-Lane. Out of the timeout, the Bulldogs' stifling defense forced consecutive turnovers and held their hosts without a point for over a three-minute stretch to keep the margin at 13-8. Belmont connected on a pair of shots late in the shot clock with under a minute left in the first quarter to make it 13-12 at the end of the frame.
A deep transition three from Rogers, her second of the first half, closed out a 10-0 run to open the second quarter and forced a Bruins' timeout with a 23-12 lead only minutes into the period.
In a half in which it never trailed, Mississippi State secured a 29-26 lead heading into the locker room. The Bulldogs established their presence inside in the first 20 minutes with 18 of 29 first-half points coming in the paint.
Carter poured in 11 of her 17 points in the third quarter, but the Bruins outscored the Bulldogs 19-16 and ended the frame on a 6-0 run over the final 1:22 minutes to tie the game at 49.
In a back-and-forth fourth quarter, Belmont took its first lead of the contest at 58-57 on a pair of free throws with 3:07 minutes left in regulation. Mississippi State responded with a scooping layup from Park-Lane to lock the score at 59. The final three minutes of regulation featured a pair of lead changes and three ties, all culminating in the last-minute plays down the stretch.
Mississippi State outrebounded its opponent for the fifth straight contest with a 44-25 advantage on the glass. The Bulldogs are now 26-2 under Purcell when outrebounding its opponent.
Mississippi State will head to Houston over Thanksgiving break to compete in three games at the 2023 Van Chancellor Classic from Nov. 24-26.