By Miss. State Media Relations
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State saw a second-half lead slip away as Louisiana Tech rallied for a 69-61 victory in women’s basketball action Wednesday night in the Humphrey Coliseum.
The Lady Bulldogs (3-2) held a 38-31 lead with 13:59 left in regulation. Over the next three minutes, the Lady Techsters pieced together a 12-0 run and did not trail for the remainder of the contest.
“In our two losses, we played teams with NCAA Tournament experience from last year,” MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Davis said. “Tech had juniors and seniors with lots of experience. They played awfully hard and knew how to get to the free throw line.
“At the same time, when you play teams like this, you have to find a way to step up.”
The opening 20 minutes featured sluggish basketball by both teams. In that half, each team shot less than 37 percent from the floor. Neither team led by more than four points. A Katia May 3-point basket with 49 seconds remaining lifted the Maroon and White to a 23-20 advantage at halftime.
Porsha Porter hit a layup to open the half and run the advantage to 25-20. A Mary Kathryn Govero jumper pushed the lead to 32-26. A layup by Judith Tabala ran the MSU advantage to a game-best, eight points, at 36-28 with 14:32 left in regulation.
From there, the Lady Techsters (3-3) enjoyed a 20-4 run, including 12 straight points. Tech grabbed the lead for good on a Tarkeisha Wysinger-Mackey putback with 12:27 remaining. That shot gave the guests a 39-38 push. Also on that play, MSU temporarily lost the services of Mary Kathryn Govero to an apparent ankle injury.
The 12-0 run was capped by a Wysinger-Mackey jumper, making the score 43-38 Tech with 11:08 remaining. Thanks to the Govero injury and foul trouble for Ashley Brown, the lead quickly grew. A 3-pointer by Whitney Jones ran the Tech advantage to 59-48 with 4:37 remaining.
The Lady Bulldogs closed within four, at 62-58, on a Judith Tabala jumper with 2:49 remaining. The hosts, however, could get no closer.
“We did a better job of taking the ball to the rim in this game,” Fanning-Otis said. “Still, our turnover-to-assist ratio was not good. We have to find a way to get to the free throw line more often. Defensively, we do not hold the opponent to 40 percent shooting and that is a negative statistic for us.”
For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 26 of 55 shots from the field (47.3 percent), 3 of 14 shots from 3-point range (21.4 percent) and 6 of 7 shots from the foul line (85.7 percent). The Lady Techsters hit 28 of 63 shots from the field (44.4 percent), 6 of 13 shots from 3-point range (46.2 percent) and 7 of 14 shots from the foul line (50.0 percent).
Louisiana Tech held a 35-34 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had nine assists and 16 turnovers, while the Lady Techsters had 14 assists and 11 turnovers.
Tabala led MSU with 15 points. Diamber Johnson added 14 points, while Porsha Porter scored 10 points. Govero, who did return late in the contest, finished with seven points.
Jones paced Louisiana Tech with a game-high 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Also in double figures were Shantale Bramble-Donaldson with 14 points, Johnson with 13 points and Wysinger-Mackey with 12 points.
The Lady Bulldogs host North Texas at 1 p.m. Saturday.