Lady Bulldogs Win Season Opener, 87-53

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State won a seventh straight season-opening game Friday night, as the Lady Bulldogs rolled past outmanned South Carolina-Upstate 87-53 in a women's basketball game at the Humphrey Coliseum.

The Lady Bulldogs placed four players in double figures and never trailed in a rout of the Atlantic Sun-member Spartans. MSU has now won 25 straight home openers in women's basketball. The Lady Bulldogs are an amazing 35-2 all-time in home openers and 25-12 in season openers.

"It is really good to start the season 1-0," MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. "Even when we missed shots, we were around the goal and active on the offensive end. Obviously, we are a work in progress. However, we played with a lot of confidence. This was a good way to get things started."

Mary Kathryn Govero paced all scores with 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting in 34 minutes of play. Also for MSU, Porsha Porter added 14 points, while Katia May scored 13 points and Diamber Johnson scored 11 points.

The Lady Bulldogs scored the first five points of the game and built an 8-1 advantage on a Danielle Rector 3-point basket. The Spartans did not connect for a field goal until almost four minutes into the contest. The Spartans battled back for an 11-8 deficit before the hosts scored the next nine points in the game.

A layup by Porter capped a 6-0 run and ran the Maroon and White advantage to 32-15. In the opening half, the Lady Bulldogs shot 39 percent from the floor, held a slight rebounding advantage and forced 11 turnovers.

The Lady Bulldogs led by as many as 18 before carrying a 40-24 advantage into the intermission.

"In the second half, our transition defense was not very good," Fanning-Otis said. "We didn't do a good real job of staying focused and keeping things tightened down on the defensive end. All of this is a learning experience for our players. We will keep working hard every day in practice."

In the final half, the Lady Bulldogs were rarely threatened. An 18-7 run helped push the MSU advantage to 63-37 with 9:55 left in regulation. The lead eventually stretched to 36 points on two different occasions.

For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 33 of 81 shots from the field (40.7 percent), 7 of 25 shots from 3-point range (28.0 percent) and 14 of 16 shots from the foul line (87.5 percent). The Spartans hit 18 of 58 shots from the field (31.0 percent), 3 of 15 shots from 3-point range (20.0 percent) and 14 of 22 shots from the foul line (63.6 percent).

MSU held a 49-45 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had 13 assists and 10 turnovers, while the Spartans had six assists and 24 turnovers.

Ashley Brown had a team-high 13 rebounds in her Maroon and White debut.

For Upstate, Chelsea McMillan led the way with 17 points and 20 rebounds. Madison Webb added 12 points and Tee'Ara Copney scored 11 points.

The Lady Bulldogs travel to New Orleans next for a Tuesday night matchup with Tulane. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside Fogleman Arena.

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