ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The third-seeded Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs advanced to the second round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament with a convincing 73-47 win over 14th seed Manhattan College Saturday night in The Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This marks the second straight year that MSU has reached the round of 32 and third in history."> ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The third-seeded Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs advanced to the second round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament with a convincing 73-47 win over 14th seed Manhattan College Saturday night in The Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This marks the second straight year that MSU has reached the round of 32 and third in history.">

Lady Bulldogs Advance to NCAA Second Round

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/01players/basketball/latoyathomas.jpg" align="left" width="119" height="167"> ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The third-seeded Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs advanced to the second round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament with a convincing 73-47 win over 14th seed Manhattan College Saturday night in The Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This marks the second straight year that MSU has reached the round of 32 and third in history.

The Lady Bulldogs opened the game with an 11-0 run, holding the Lady Jaspers scoreless until the 12:15 mark of the first half. They pushed the lead out to as many as 21 points twice during the first 20 minutes. MSU went into the dressing room with its largest lead of 22 points at 36-14. Manhattan's 14 points is the lowest output in the first half for a Lady 'Dog opponent this season. The previous was 17 points against Arkansas.

"I am pleased with the effort and that we came out focused. It was a great win to get the tournament started," said head coach Sharon Fanning. "We felt like defense was going to be a key. They (Manhattan) are an aggressive, scrappy basketball team that stays after it. We need to do a better job of transition on Monday."

The Maroon and White expanded the lead in the final half to as many as 32 points with 7:22 remaining in the game. The Lady Jaspers trimmed that margin down to 20 points at 48-28, but MSU pushed its lead back out to the final margin of 26 points.

LaToya Thomas and Tan White shared scoring honors for the Lady 'Dogs, both pouring in 22 points apiece. Thomas also pulled down 13 rebounds for her 47th career double-double and 11th of the season. White was 5-of-10 from three-point range, tying her seasonhigh for treys.

"I don't think we were nervous," said senior forward LaToya Thomas. "I mean when you come in and see approximately 15,000 people in the stands everybody is going to get bubble gut. We just came out focused. Tan was knocking down the big shots, so we kept on going to Tan and she kept hitting the big shots, so we felt comfortable."

Freshman Doceide Warren, who was making her second career start, scored nine points and grabbed five boards. Senior Renea Jones added five point of her own, while Mamie McKinney and Seneca Anderson both contributed four. Anderson also pulled down eight rebounds.

The Lady Bulldogs will play the winner of the New Mexico/Miami game in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Monday, March 24. The time of the game has not yet been determined. The game will be televised on ESPN2. Fans can also catch the game on the Bulldog Sports Network with Steve Ellis calling the action.

GAME NOTES

  • Mississippi State's win improved its record to 24-7, tying a school record for most wins in a season. The Lady Bulldogs tallied 24 wins in the 1999-2000 season.
  • State's defense tied a mark for second fewest points allowed (14) in a half during a Midwest Regional first or second round game. The all-time low for fewest points in a half is 11, set by Southwest Missouri State versus Colorado on March 18, 1995.
  • MSU improved to 3-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
  • LaToya Thomas moved into seventh place on the NCAA Career Scoring list with her 22 points tonight. Thomas now has 2,952 career points. She surpassed Valorie Whiteside of Appalachian State (1988) who had 2,944 career points.
  • Tan White moved into fourth place on the blocked shots list at MSU with 61 career blocks.


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