Mississippi State fell to Vanderbilt 71-66 in its SEC opener inside Humphrey Coliseum on Thursday.
Mississippi State is now 13-3 and 0-1 in the SEC on the season.
“I know I have a locker room full of fighters,” head coach Sam Purcell said. “I keep saying that my focus is on our film session tomorrow. That is uncharacteristic for how we played today. You have to give credit to Vanderbilt. They caused a little bit of that, but we have to get back and watch film in order to get back to the basics in order to put our best foot forward for four quarters on Sunday.
Senior guard Jerkaila Jordan turned in 21 points on 8-17 from the field, in addition to five assists and six steals in 31 minutes. It marked her sixth 20-point performance of the season and the 27th of her career.
Sophomore guard Debreasha Powe returned from a one-game absence to finish with 15 points on 7-12 from the field in 34 minutes, while senior guard Darrione Rogers posted her 30th career contest with three-plus threes made with a 3-5 effort from behind the arc.
Jordan picked up where she left off last season and continued her impressive play in conference action with now 10-plus points in eight of her last nine SEC contests.
Mississippi State and Vanderbilt traded scores on their initial two possessions before the Commodores secured an early 11-4 lead with a 7-0 run. Mississippi State immediately responded with a 6-0 run of its own over the next 1:31 minutes to trim the deficit to 11-10 at the first media timeout.
The two defenses settled in out of the quick break and Vanderbilt commanded an 18-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Rogers knocked down a transition three before Mississippi State forced a turnover off the inbound set that led to a fastbreak finish from Mjracle Sheppard and closed out a 7-0 run that forced a Vanderbilt timeout.
The run was a part of a larger 14-3 start to the second quarter and provided Mississippi State with a 28-21 lead with 5:52 minutes left in the period.
Vanderbilt responded once more with a 15-2 run to take a 36-31 lead with 58 seconds remaining before a pullup jumper by Powe made it 33-36 at the break. It marks only the second time this season that Mississippi State has trailed at half.
Powe would continue her hot start to the contest and add eight of her 15 points in the third quarter. A driving layup from Jordan tied the game at 58 with 6:28 left in the third quarter.
Vanderbilt knocked down a second-chance three on its next possession to take back the lead for the final time in the contest.
Rogers was fouled on a corner three attempt and knocked down three free throws with under a minute to play to cut the deficit to 69-66. Mississippi State would force a miss on its next possession and have a chance to tie the game with a three on its final look, but failed to convert.
Mississippi State turned in 26 points off of 20 forced turnovers. It marks the fourth time this season that Mississippi State has scored 25-plus points off of turnovers.
Mississippi State travels to No. 1 South Carolina on Sunday, Jan. 7 in a national showdown on ESPN at 12 p.m.