MSU win MSU Classic Opener, 69-46

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State women's basketball opened the MSU Classic in convincing style with a 69-46 win over Southern University Thursday night at Humphrey Coliseum. The Lady Bulldogs are now 26-3 in MSU Classic history.

MSU outscored the Jaguars 25-10 over the final eight minutes of the first half. They held SU to just 20 percent shooting, hitting just four field goals in the half.

"It was important for us to win this game, and it's important to us that we win this tournament," said MSU head coach Sharon Fanning.

After a sluggish first 11 minutes the Lady Bulldogs heated up from the field. Juniors Tiania Burns and Tan White both reached double figures before halftime. Burns finished with 18 points, 12 in the first 20 minutes and White finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.

In the second half, State pushed the lead out to as many as 26 points with under a minute to play in the game. Southern trimmed the lead down to 19 with 7:25 left to play. The Maroon and White shot the ball better in the second half, shooting 43 percent. From the free throw line, MSU was 14-of-17 in the second half.

Sophomores Mamie McKinney and Blessing Chekwa also finished with double figures in the scoring column. McKinney posted a career-high 11 points and a career-high five steals. Chekwa returned to her old form from last season, scoring a season-high 13 points.

"It's good to see Blessing (Chekwa) back from her injuries and playing with confidence," said Fanning. "She's one of the most aggressive players that we have."

Jaguar sophomore guard Rolanda Monroe posted a game-high 22 points on the night.

The MSU Classic continues Friday with Southern taking on the McNeese State Cowgirls at 7 p.m. in Humphrey Coliseum. MSU will close out the Classic on Saturday versus McNeese State. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

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