"When you shoot 52 percent and are out rebounding the other team, you can't just give up and allow them to get back into the game," said head coach Sharon Fanning. "I was pleased at the end of the second half the way we picked it up. We really wanted to be undefeated right now, but we will take a 12-2 record. This is a whole new season after the South Carolina game last week. We are really excited about how we are doing right now."
The Lady Bulldogs began the game strong, jumping out to a 4-0 lead before UC Santa Barbara scored its first basket at the 17:12 mark of the period. State then rallied, going on a 7-0 run midway through the half. The Gauchos cut the MSU lead to five on a basket by Mia Fisher with 14:00 remaining in the period. However, the Lady Bulldogs answered, rattling off a 13-0 run to go up 23-6 with 10:10 left to play. After another UCSB basket, State jumped out by 22 with 5:26 on the clock and kept rallying to take a 41-20 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
In the first half, State held the Gauchos to just a 25 percent shooting performance from the floor and 22 percent from behind the arc. Ferguson and White each totaled double digits in the opening period as State shot 52 percent from the floor and 42 from three-point range.
In the second half, State kept its dominance alive for the majority of the half. MSU, who led by as much as 22, maintained its double-digit lead until the 3:49 mark of the period. UCSB cut the Lady Bulldog lead to just seven at the 3:03 mark. State increased its lead to11 points at 67-56 on a Blessing Chekwa jumper with 2:24 left to play. Despite once again cutting the State lead to single digits in the game's closing minutes, UCSB was unable to tally enough points as MSU took the win, 69-62. State's 69-62 win is the same outcome that the Lady Bulldogs fell by at Santa Barbara last season.
Kristen Mann's 19 points and 12 rebounds led the Gauchos and Fisher added 18 in the loss.
MSU returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 13 when the Lady Bulldogs host SEC opponent Alabama at 7 p.m. in Humphrey Coliseum.