LSU beats Lady Bulldogs

By From school reports

STARKVILLE – Mississippi State allowed a big second half to help LSU past the Lady Bulldogs 72-55 in a Southeastern Conference women’s basketball game played Thursday night in the Humphrey Coliseum.

The Lady Tigers shot 50.9 percent from the floor. It is the first time this season, the Lady Bulldogs allowed better than 50 percent shooting from the floor in a contest. The 72 points scored by the Lady Tigers also marked the most allowed by MSU in a contest this season.

LSU only led by six points at halftime. The guests then opened the final half with an 8-1 run and were not threatened the remainder of the contest.

“We felt good being down six at the half,” MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. “Then it is matter of coming out and executing in the second half. We have a very difficult time staying with their two good shooters defensively all night.”

MSU dropped its fourth straight contest, while falling to 8-7 overall and 0-3 in league play. LSU made it back-to-back wins in league play, while improving to 12-6 and 2-2.

The Maroon and White scored the game’s first five points on a Catina Bett putback and Diamber Johnson 3-pointer. MSU held that lead until a 3-point basket by LSU’s Adrienne Webb with 14:36 left in the half.

The teams were again tied at eight before the guests took the lead for good with five straight points. A Katherine Graham jumper ran the Lady Tigers advantage to 21-15. After closing within 21-19 on two free throws by Porsha Porter, MSU gave up an 8-0 run allowing the advantage to extend to 29-19.

Behind 55 percent first half shooting (with six made 3-pointers), LSU led 32-26 at the intermission.

Webb hit a pair of 3-pointers during the second half-opening 8-1 run. The final trey gave LSU a 40-27 push with 17:04 left in regulation.

The Lady Bulldogs hung tough but defensively could not find an answer. MSU closed within 44-36 a couple of minutes later, only to have LSU reeled off seven straight points to move back out of danger.

“It is about mental toughness,” Fanning-Otis said. “We have to find a way to stay focused. This game is going to be physical. Our taking care of the basketball is important. We turned ball over more in the second half.”

For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 18 of 50 shots from the field (36.0 percent), 4 of 16 shots from 3-point range (25.0 percent) and 15 of 21 shots from the foul line (71.4 percent). The Lady Tigers hit 27 of 53 shots from the field (50.9 percent), 10 of 20 shots from 3-point range (50.0 percent) and 8 of 14 shots from the foul line (57.1 percent).

LSU held a 35-28 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had six assists and 14 turnovers, while the Lady Tigers had 15 assists and 16 turnovers.

Bett paced the Bulldogs with 15 points. Mary Kathryn Govero and Porter each added 10 points for the Maroon and White. Ashley Brown had a team-high six rebounds.

Webb paced LSU with a game-high 26 points on a 10-for-20 night from the floor, with four 3-point makes. Jeanne Kenney added 17 points, while LaSondra Barrett scored 11 points. Webb and Barrett each finished with a game-high eight rebounds.

The Lady Bulldogs head back to the road for a showdown with 19th-ranked Kentucky Sunday afternoon. Tipoff is set for noon CT from Lexington. That contest will be televised regionally by Fox Sports Net South.