Lady ’Dogs get over holiday blues

STARKVILLE – For Alexis Rack and Mary Kathryn Govero, a win simply isn’t enough.
Rack and Govero had 21 points apiece to lead the Mississippi State women’s basketball team to an 85-52 win over visiting Southern Miss Wednesday night and snap a three-game losing streak. But considering the Lady Dawgs’ 18 turnovers and lofty season goals, the win was anything but satisfying.
“Obviously it’s always better when you can learn lessons and still be winning,” Govero, whose 21 points were a career high, said. “We’re happy with win, but we need to take things from this and keep working on improving.”
The Lady Bulldogs (5-3) left Starkville last week headed to the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, ranked No. 19 in the nation. After losses to Texas, Rutgers, and Southern California, State returned home unranked and frustrated.
“It’s unacceptable relative to how we’re attempting to play,” head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. “We got some transition buckets, but still had too many turnovers, unforced turnovers. The good thing was, we were able to create more turnovers than we made. We just didn’t play with the intensity it’s going to take to win ballgames.”
USM (3-4) led early, but a 13-3 run with seven minutes left in the first half opened the game up for the Lady Dogs, who led 38-28 at half and never trailed again.
In addition to her 21 points, Rack had a game-high nine assists for the Lady Dawgs.
Armelie Lumanu added 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and Tysheka Grimes chipped in 12.
The Bulldogs shot 62.1 percent from the floor in the second half, but never showed the fluidity of earlier wins.
“I feel like we’re not on the same page,” Rack said. “We’ve just got to work together in practice. January and SEC season is coming up quick.”
USM hit only 10-of-30 field goals in the second half, and the finished the game with 27 turnovers.
Robin Murphy and Pauline Love had 14 points apiece to lead the Lady Eagles.
Love came in averaging 18.7 points per game and struggled against the Bulldog defense.
“Holding her field goal percentage down was key,” Fanning-Otis said. “She is such an important part of their offense.
“It’s really about passion,” Fanning-Otis said. “We’ve come back from a long trip. A tiring trip. There’s probably a little bit of mental and physical fatigue there. And all of them are loaded with exams tomorrow and Friday. It’s just going to be about toughness and discipline and being ready.”

R.J. Morgan/Special to the Journal