Mississippi State Knows Way Past San Jose 66-60

Senior guard Doceide Warren hit a jumpshot with 1:13 left, then added a pair of clinching free throws as Mississippi State turned back San Jose State 66-60 on the first day of the MSU Classic.

The host Lady Bulldogs, who led by as much as 23 points in the second half, saw the Spartans cut their deficit to 58-54 with almost two minutes remaining. Facing a wide 2-3 zone defense and with the shot clock nearly gone, point guard Warren rolled to the left wing and pulled up. Her basket was State's first field goal since 7:33, and came after the Spartans had put together a 16-2 run.

The Bulldogs did not get another basket after Warren's key shot, either, but made six of 11 free throws in the last 48 seconds. Warren had the last two chances, both good at 0:11, and guard Tiania Burns stole a long pass with five seconds left to seal the outcome.

"Doceide came up huge when the game was on the line," Coach Sharon Fanning said as Warren finished with a dozen points, leading a balanced offense that saw four Bulldogs scoring in double-figures.

State never trailed in the game and led by as much as ten points in the first half, with a 29-24 score at intermission. In the second half the Bulldogs opened up from long range, with three-straight treys in one stretch pushing the lead out to 50-27 by 12:04. It was still a 18-point game when guard Tan White tipped in a rebound at 7:33, before the Spartans began their run.

"Our defensive pressure kind of let down," White said. "We were up by so much. Once they started coming back we tried to pick it back up." The Dogs did pick up just enough offense the rest of the way to keep SJSU from coming all the way back.

State got 15 points from forward Rebecca Kates, who had three treys against the Spartan zone. "It's more than likely the first time I've ever outscored Tan!" Kates said. "Things were just coming to me, they were sagging on Tan and that left me and Eb open more." Guard Ebonie Ferguson had three treys of her own off the bench for 11 points. White added 13 in a relatively quiet offensive afternoon for her.

The Spartans had trouble all game with an aggressive Bulldog defense, particularly when State put the pressure on full-court. "We had 20 turnovers, and when you do that you're going to be in trouble," said SJSU Coach Janice Richard. Four Spartans scored in double-digits, led by forward Amber Jackson's 18 with 12 more by forward Lamisha Augustine. Jackson added 15 rebounds as SJSU beat State on the boards 47-40.

"I have nine new players this year," Richard noted, "we're young and working extremely hard."

The Bulldogs, now 7-2, will play Louisiana-Monroe in Monday's 5:00 championship game. The Indians (5-3) defeated Grambling State 81-73 in Sunday's opening game. San Jose State (5-3) meets GSU (2-5) in a 2:00 consolation game.

"In spurts we looked like the team we're supposed to be," Fanning said. "Every win is important and this is one more in the direction we want to go."

"Our team is playing well now, we're playing together and smart," Kates said. "We hope to continue this when we come back from the break."

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