Lady Bulldogs Lose to Lady Jaguars 67-53

MOBILE, Ala. - The Lady Jag basketball team jumped out to an 18-point halftime lead and never looked back as South Alabama defeated Mississippi State 67-53 Saturday night at the Mitchell Center.

Mississippi State (2-3) came out and took the early advantage, leading USA 4-2 with 17 minutes and 21 seconds left to play in the first half, but that was the Bulldogs' last lead of the evening. South Alabama (5-1) started a 19-5 run on a Whitney Woodard bucket to jump out to a 14 point lead. The Lady Bulldogs, however, came back with a run of their own cutting the lead to six (22-16) on a Rebecca Kates trey, but that was as close as MSU would get the rest of the night. USA closed out the half on another big run, this time a 20-8 run that pushed the lead to 18 at intermission.

Struggling the past four game offensively in the first half, USA came out on fire. For the first half, South Alabama shot 58 percent from the floor, including a blistering 63 percent from behind the arc (5-of-8). The Jag defense forced 20 Bulldog turnovers for the game and limited MSU to 33 percent shooting and a dismal 2-for-16 from the three-point line (12.5 percent).

After USA pushed the lead to as many as 22 in the second half, Mississippi State cut the lead to 14 with a minute to go, but it was not enough as South Alabama held on for the victory.

"This is a great win for us," said South Alabama women's basketball head coach Rick Pietri. "We got it because we gave a complete forty minute effort. We gave everything we had and I have no complaints about the level of effort we gave tonight. We have to understand that we have to bring this type of effort to whomever we are playing and not just selectively bring it."

The Lady Jags were led by Woodard and Donyel Wheeler's 15 points each. Woodard also led the Jags in the rebounding department with five boards. Wheeler's 15 points also set a new career high for the third-straight game.

"Donyel is so perfect for us coming off of the bench because you know we're going to have some exceptionally positive energy. She's been great for us this year in that role and as a team overall, we have such a balanced group.

Mississippi State was led in scoring on the night by the duo of Tiania Burns and Tan White who had 20 and 17 points respectively. Burns also posted a game-high 10 rebounds.

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