Lady Bulldogs Lose to Virginia Tech

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands - The Mississippi State women's basketball team (1-2) couldn't pull it out over the 24th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies (4-0), falling 63-56 in the Paradise Jam Championship game. In a game with eight lead changes, the Lady Bulldogs tied it up 56-56 with 56 seconds to go, but couldn't stop VT from adding seven more points for the victory.

"I'm very optimistic that we were in a position to win this tournament and to beat a ranked team," said head coach Sharon Fanning. "I'm very disappointed that we didn't have patience and intensity for 40 minutes. We showed signs of a good basketball team. We had better communication, made the extra pass and had good team defense; however, to win a championship and become a ranked basketball team, we need to play more consistently on both ends of the floor. We need to be more patient on offense, finish our shots and get to the free throw line."

Virginia Tech jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the first to start off the Paradise Jam Championship game. Despite the sluggish start, the Lady Bulldogs were ignited by three-pointers from junior forward Rebecca Kates and senior guard Jessica Carter to pull ahead, 14-12, at 8:02. Junior guard Tiania Burns hit two needed free throws to pull within in one at 16-17. The Lady Bulldogs went into the lockeroom with the momentum from junior guard Tan White's tip-in to pull MSU ahead, 26-25.

MSU didn't score in the second until the 16:28 mark with Virginia Tech going on a 9-0 run to start the second half. Senior forward Seneca Anderson led the MSU offensive charge posting two of her career-high 15 points, to break a 10-point VT lead at 11:42. Anderson posted 12 of her 15 points in the second half, which ties a career-high.

Kates pulled MSU to within three points at 46-49 with 6:25 on the clock, followed soon after by a three by sophomore guard Doceide Warren who posted eight points on the night despite battling a chronic hamstring injury. The Lady Bulldogs tied it at 56-56 with 56 seconds to go but were unable to stop a strong Hokie offense that recorded seven consecutive points to take the win.

MSU's Burns and White were named to the Paradise Jam All-Tournament team. White posted eight points in the effort, while Burns added her second double-digit scoring game of the tournament with 11 points and six rebounds. Other Lady Bulldog contributors were Carter and Kates with six points and sophomore forward Mamie McKinney added two.

VT's Carrie Mason posted a game-high 24 points that earned her the tournament MVP. Forward Ieva Kublina recorded 17 points, aiding the Hokies 38 points in the paint. Erin Gibson pulled down 11 of the team's 39 rebounds.

"Virginia Tech has a very balanced basketball team and played very hard for 40 minutes," said Fanning.

The Lady Bulldogs come home to host Detroit on Thursday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. CT, before going on the road again to play at South Alabama on Dec. 6 and at 12th-ranked Louisiana Tech on Dec. 14.

Paradise Jam St. Thomas Division (records in tournament)
1. Virginia Tech (2-0)
2. Mississippi State (1-1)
3. Iowa State (1-1)
4. Indiana (0-2)

Paradise Jam St. Thomas Division All-Tournament Team
1. Jenny DeMuth, Indiana
2. Lisa Kriener, Iowa State
3. Tan White, Mississippi State
4. Ieva Kuelina, Virginia Tech
5. Tiania Burns, Mississippi Sate

MVP - Carrie Mason, Virginia Tech

Game Notes

  • MSU is now 1-4 vs. Virginia Tech and 5-7 vs. the Big East.
  • Head coach Sharon Fanning is 20-12 in non-conference competition on neutral courts.
  • With her two assists tonight, Tan White moved into 10th place on MSU's Career Assists Chart with 262 career assists.
  • Tan White is 10-11 in free throws this season.

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