Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs claim victory in exhibition contest

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State’s Diamber Johnson scored 21 points as the Lady Bulldogs defeated Montevallo 75-42 in a women’s basketball exhibition game played at the Humphrey Coliseum Sunday afternoon.

The Lady Bulldogs never trailed in the contest against the Peach Belt Conference, NCAA Division II member Lady Falcons. MSU eventually heated up, hitting 50 percent of its shots from the field in the second half to be able to pull away. Defensively, the Maroon and White forced 24 turnovers.

“At halftime, we were only shooting 38 percent, but we made it to the 45-50 percent mark in the second half, which is where we need to be,” MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. “We will definitely be working on offensive boards this week and hopefully that will progress throughout the season. The defense was a little off today because the communication was not there.”

MSU scored the first three points of the contest and built a 20-10 advantage, thanks to a 13-5 run over a 7:07 stretch in the opening half. A 6-0 run – fueled by a pair of baskets from Judith Tabala – allowed the Lady Bulldogs to open that 20-10 advantage.

Defensive pressure set up a couple of fast break baskets as the hosts eased out to a 29-15 advantage with 3:19 left in the opening half. Montevallo rallied late, cutting the deficit to 32-22 at the intermission.

The Lady Bulldogs resumed their defensive intensity over the final half. A 10-0 run opened a 42-22 advantage with 13:58 left in the contest. The Lady Falcons did not make their first field goal of the final half until the 11:20 mark. MSU would stretch the lead to as many as 37 in the closing minutes of play.

For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hi 24 of 56 shots from the field (42.9 percent), 2 of 13 shots from 3-point range (15.4 percent) and 25 of 32 shots from the free throw line (78.1 percent). The Lady Falcons hit 15 of 47 shots from the field (31.9 percent), 1 of 14 shots from 3-point range (7.1 percent) and 11 of 18 shots from the free throw line (61.1 percent).

MSU held a 42-31 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had 10 assists and 10 turnovers, while the Lady Falcons had six assists and 24 turnovers.

Johnson scored 21 points on a 7-of-16 night from the field and 6-of-6 night from the free throw line. Porsha Porter added 13 points, while Ashley Brown scored 12 points and Tabala finished with 11 points. Brown also had a team-high seven rebounds.

Tiffany McClure led Montevallo with 10 points.

The Lady Bulldogs open the 2010-11 regular season by hosting Atlantic Sun Conference member South Carolina-Upstate Friday afternoon. Game time is set for 4 p.m. in the Humphrey Coliseum. It is the opening game of a doubleheader, as the MSU men follow against Tennessee State at 7 p.m.

Mississippi State Media Relations