Lady Bulldogs Drop Home SEC Game to Alabama

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Despite a career night from Porsha Porter, the Mississippi State women's basketball team still could not find the win column Thursday night. Porter poured in a career-high 30 points but the Lady Bulldogs fell short, dropping a 66-61 Southeastern Conference decision to Alabama in the Humphrey Coliseum.

The Lady Bulldogs only led once briefly, with a little more than four minutes gone by in the first half. Alabama snapped a nine-game losing streak, while MSU lost its 10th straight. The Crimson Tide also snapped a five-game losing streak in the series.

Alabama improved to 12-11 overall and 1-9 in league play, while MSU fell to 8-13 and 0-9.

"I thought down the stretch we competed," MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. "It is about taking care of the basketball and having focus for 40 minutes. We play in the toughest league, because of the aggression factor. Every team in the league is aggressive. We have to learn how to establish that kind of effort on our end."

Both teams struggled on the offensive end. The Crimson Tide made a few more free throws and collected a few more rebounds as it held off a furious rally, after having led by as many as 17 in the game's final half.

A layup by Porter gave MSU its only advantage, at 6-4. Alabama responded with a 15-0 run. Jasmine Robinson hit a big a 3-point basket during that run. The Maroon and White went 6:20 before finally scoring again. A jumper by Mary Kathryn Govero halted the run, and cut the deficit to 19-8.

"Alabama did not do anything that we weren't prepared for," Fanning-Otis said. "However, they were certainly more determined. In the early stages of the game, we stood there like a deer in headlights. We didn't play with the sense of urgency that you have to play with in this league."

The Crimson Tide nursed the double-digit lead for most of the remainder of the first half. MSU scored the half's final four points to cut the halftime deficit to 32-25.

A pair of Ashley Brown free throws brought MSU within 32-27. The Crimson Tide answered with an 18-6 run. A 3-point basket by Ericka Russell ran the advantage to 46-33. Back-to-back scores by Tierney Jackson made it 50-33.

The Lady Bulldogs scored the game's next nine points - all in a 2:09 span. A 3-pointer by Govero brought the hosts within, 50-42.

Alabama moved back out of danger, forcing three turnovers and ripping off the game's next eight points.

The Lady Bulldogs clawed back within four at 63-59 on three free throws by Porter, which came on the heels of a layup by Porter.

Alabama closed out the win with Russell draining a 3-pointer on the other end as the shot clock expired with 37 seconds left in regulation.

For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 21 of 58 shots from the field (36.2 percent), 3 of 14 shots from 3-point range (21.4 percent) and 16 of 18 shots from the foul line (88.9 percent). The Crimson Tide hit 21 of 60 shots from the field (35.0 percent), 5 of 18 shots from 3-point range (27.8 percent) and 19 of 28 shots from the foul line (67.9 percent).

Alabama held a 44-40 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had nine assists and 21 turnovers, while the Crimson Tide had 10 assists and 20 turnovers.

Govero was also in double figures with 10 points, while Catina Bett had a team-high 10 rebounds. Govero had nine rebounds, just missing a double-double.

Alabama received double-doubles from Jenkins (17 points, 14 rebounds) and Kaneisha Horn (11 points, 12 rebounds). The Crimson Tide also received 16 points from Russell and 11 points from Jasmine Robinson.

The Lady Bulldogs play at Auburn at 2 p.m. Sunday.

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