MSU stormed out of the gates in the opening half and built a 10-point lead, 16-6, by the 14-minute mark. The Maroon and White increased its lead to as many as 24 points with just over a minute to play, outscoring UTM 28-19 over the final 13 minutes of the opening period in the process.
The Lady Bulldogs' 45 points in the first half was a season-high for points in a half. MSU shot over 50 percent in the first 20 minutes, while holding the Skyhawks to just 30 percent on a 9-for-30 shooting effort.
"We came into tonight's game looking to meet some of our offensive goals, and I think we were able to do that," said MSU head coach Sharon Fanning. "We shot above 50 percent from the field."
State continued to pour it on in the closing stanza, pushing its 22-point lead out to as many as 37 with 9:51 remaining. For the game, MSU out-rebounded the Blue and Orange Skyhawks 54-32 and shot 53 percent from the field.
Tiania Burns also had a double-double with a game-high and career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds. Jessica Carter came off the bench for 15 points, shooting 5-of-6 from behind the arc. Mamie McKinney continued her stronghold on the boards, pulling down 10 rebounds. Seneca Anderson added eight points, while Doceide Warren scored seven.
"I would like to thank the city of Tupelo, this was our first opportunity to play on the road prior to our men playing," said Fanning.
Jenny Lannom scored 10 points to pace Tennessee-Martin.
The Lady Bulldogs return to the confines of Humphrey Coliseum on Thursday evening when they take on visiting Southern in game one of the Mississippi State Classic. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Southern will play McNeese State on Friday at 7 p.m. in game two of the three-day tournament and State will conclude round-robin play against McNeese State on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Post-game comments by Sharon Fanning.
Talk about the positives you saw from your team in this game.
"Just some offensive game goals that we hadn't achieved such as to be able to get above 50% from the field. To get above 50 was excellent. We had a positive assist to turnover ratio. We had a big spread in terms of rebounds. We had three people in double figures in points and rebounds including two double-doubles. Tan (White) had 7 assists and 5 steals along with her 21 points and 11 rebounds. For a team to gain confidence, you have to have games like this.
"This game shows the character and class of these kids. We have been searching for combinations, trying to give kids minutes, trying to get players back into the rotation. It's been tough. Then, to come back home and maintain focus showed progress.
"You saw in the first half the top 8 or 9 kids playing together, then you saw everybody get in before the game was over.
"I was just really pleased to have great fans here and to have a big win to help us get on track and carry us into these next couple of games at home.
"I want to say thank you to Tupelo. I know this was a special opportunity. And I know there were a lot of things that had to fall into place for this (doubleheader) to happen. We really want to thank everybody that did this."
Talk about your upcoming schedule.
"We have two games in three days. We play Southern (University) at 7 o'clock on the 18th. We feel like there are teams coming in that are athletic. We need some support right now. Recruiting is always a priority. Players will be coming in to see us play. We need to carry this (victory) over tonight."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher and owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial site for Mississippi State sports since October, 1996. He can be reached by email at email@example.com