LUBBOCK, Texas - The Mississippi State women's basketball team saw the 2001-02 season come to an end Sunday, falling 77-55 to fourth-seeded Texas Tech in the second round of the NCAA Midwest Regional at the United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas."> LUBBOCK, Texas - The Mississippi State women's basketball team saw the 2001-02 season come to an end Sunday, falling 77-55 to fourth-seeded Texas Tech in the second round of the NCAA Midwest Regional at the United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.">

Season comes to an end for Lady Bulldogs

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/01players/basketball/wbasketballfile120-160.jpg" align="left" width="120" height="157"> LUBBOCK, Texas - The Mississippi State women's basketball team saw the 2001-02 season come to an end Sunday, falling 77-55 to fourth-seeded Texas Tech in the second round of the NCAA Midwest Regional at the United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

Twelfth-seeded State (19-12) picked up 15 points from two-time Kodak All-American LaToya Thomas and 14 points from senior Jennifer Fambrough, but Amber Tarr exploded for 25 points on 5-of-9 behind the arc to guide the Lady Raiders (20-11) to the Sweet 16 for the second straight season.

Fambrough, State's lone senior, played 26 minutes in her final game. The native of Dickson, Tenn., grabbed six boards and had three assists in the 117th game of her career. The 6-0 forward ends her career with 1,677 points, second only to teammate Thomas on the MSU charts.

Tech's defense proved to be the spark in the winning effort, as the Lady Raiders held State to just 23 points in the first half and 32 in the last 20 minutes. MUS shot just 25 percent from the field in the first half and only 33 percent from the game.

"I have to credit their defense," said Thomas of the Lady Raiders. "I've seen double and triple teams this season but they did a great job on their help defense. I had trouble finding an open player sometimes."

The Lady Raider defense held Lady Bulldog Tan White to just eight points. It marked only the second time the freshman standout from Tupelo, Miss., was held to single digits in her inaugural season.

Texas Tech hit 45 percent of its field-goal attempts, including a 53 percent showing in the final half. The big difference in the contest came on the boards, where Texas Tech outscored MSU 16-6 in second-chance points.

Both teams shot equally well behind the arc, hitting 6-of-16 three-point efforts for 37.5-percent. Texas Tech went to the free-throw line 21 times, hitting 15, while State managed 14 trips, connecting on 11.

Texas Tech dominated the boards while using a stifling defensive effort to take a 34-23 lead into the break. The Lady Raiders held State's talented duo of Thomas and White in check in the first half as they combined for just seven points in the first 20 minutes.

"We thought if we could come out and shoot 40 percent, we could win a ballgame," said head coach Sharon Fanning. "We were not consistent for a full 40 minutes with our intensity and togetherness."

The Lady Bulldogs scored the opening points of the contest off lone senior Jennifer Fambrough's two free throws. The Lady Raiders roared back behind Amber Tarr's 10 first-half points to post a four-point edge. State cut the lead to a single point, but Tech exploded on an 11-0 run to open up a 17-5 edge.

State cut the lead back to 10 points with Fambrough's layup at the 9:00 mark. Tech took a 31-16 edge, its largest of the opening half, on Natalie Ritchie's three-point basket. State cut the edge back to 12 points at 33-21 when White connected from beyond the arc for her first points of the night with just 24 seconds left in the opening period.

The Lady Bulldogs and Lady Raiders exchanged free throws in the final seconds of the half, and despite shooting just 25.9-percent from the floor in the half, State trailed by just 11 points heading into the locker room.

MSU cut into the double-digit lead just 30 seconds into the second half as Thomas scored on a fast-break layup, but Tarr hit a three to give Tech a 5-0 run that extended the lead back to 14 points just a minute and a half into the second stanza.

Fambrough hit her second three-point basket of the contest to cut the lead back to 11 points at 41-30. State cut the lead to 10 points at the 14-minute mark when White capitalized on a three-point play, but Tarr once again extended the lead as she converted a rare four-point play.

State immediately responded as Lyndi Sippel drained a three that cut the deficit back to 11 points. MSU then knocked the lead to single digits as Rebecca Kates connected on a jumper that made it a 48-39 game with just 11:30 to play. State then cut the lead to seven as Fambrough hit a jumper from just inside the arc with 11 minutes to go.

The single-digit deficit did not last long as Tarr hit on her fourth three-point basket of the game to jump the lead to 53-43 with 9:30 remaining. State cut the deficit back to single figures, but Tarr hit her fifth three-pointer to extend the lead back to 12 points at 60-48. The Lady Raiders then exploded on an 8-0 run that extended the lead to 68-48 with just over five minutes to play.

"They did an excellent job of seeing the floor and making the extra pass," said Fanning. "We have to learn from this. We have to use this as a stepping stone to the next level."


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