ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands -- Brittany Ray scored a career-high 27 points to help Rutgers upset Mississippi State (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) 62-54 on Friday night in the Paradise Jam.
Rutgers trailed 7-4 early before going on a 15-2 run. April Sykes had seven of her 12 points during the spurt. Ray started off the burst with back-to-back jumpers. Mississippi State would close to 23-19, but Ray scored five points in the final 1:17 of the half to restore the lead to 10 at the break."Brittany [Ray] just refused to lose; her mindset was it is time for us to win," Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said. "She has been saying that in all the games and it was nice to see her have a great game. I was also pleased with the play of April [Sykes]. She played very calming and settled and played more in control."The Lady Bulldogs would get within seven in the second half before Ray scored six of the Scarlet Knights' final nine points to seal the win."My coaches tell me to keep shooting and I would get my shot back," Ray said. "Today, I did and knocked down those shots."Alexis Rack scored 17 points and Armelie Lumanu added 12 to lead Mississippi State (4-2), which lost to Texas in its opening game Thursday. Rutgers will take on the Longhorns on Saturday while Mississippi State will play Southern Cal.Rutgers (4-2) held Mississippi State to just 29 percent shooting (20 for 69).