AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn sophomore Brandy Montgomery scored a game-high 21 points, but No. 18 Mississippi State pulled away early in the second half for a 59-48 win Monday night at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers led by as many as seven points late in the first half, but the Bulldogs took advantage of 23 Auburn turnovers and had 25 second-chance points after pulling down 17 offensive rebounds.
“We are just continually repeating ourselves over and over again,” Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “We can’t turn the ball over 23 times, which gave them 25 points, and give up 17 offensive rebounds. It’s just very hard to win a basketball game giving up those type of numbers.”
It was the third 20-point game for Montgomery this season as she led all scorers on the night. She shot 7-of-14 from the floor and 7-of-8 at the free-throw line, and she also had three steals on the night. Freshman Neydja Petithomme matched her career-high with 11 points.
Mississippi State turned a six-point halftime lead into a 10-point advantage less than two minutes into the second half. Auburn cut the lead back to six on a Montgomery jumper and a Petithomme layup with 16:56 to play, but the Tigers could get no closer. The Bulldogs would lead by as many as 20 before Auburn scored the game’s final nine points.
A 15-2 Auburn run over a five-minute stretch turned an 11-5 deficit into a 20-13 lead at the under-8 timeout. But the Bulldogs would put together a 15-2 run of their own, scoring twice in the final 30 seconds to take a 28-22 lead into halftime.
Auburn shot 40 percent (18-of-45) for the game and connected on 10-of-13 free throws. The Tigers also led in steals 12-10 - Katie Frerking had a game-high four swipes - and Auburn had six blocks to the Bulldogs’ four. Tra’Cee Tanner had three blocks on the night.
Victoria Vivians led Mississippi State with a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Breanna Richardson and Martha Alwal had 15 points each.
The Tigers are on the road for their next two contests, beginning Thursday night with a 7 p.m. tip at Arkansas. SEC Network + will carry an online broadcast of the game via WatchESPN.