Lady Bulldogs Win Season-Opener, 71-55

STARKVILLE, Miss. -­ The Mississippi State University women's basketball team opened the 32nd season of Lady Bulldog basketball on Friday night with a 71-55 win over visiting Southeastern Louisiana.

MSU (1-0) used double-digit first-half point totals from sophomore guard Miayorka Johnson and freshman guard/forward Robin Porter to take a commanding 45-20 lead at halftime. Behind a strong effort from junior forward/center Natasha Henderson, the Lady Bulldogs fended off a SELU comeback in the second half to take the win.

"I thought we did a good job of moving the basketball," said head coach Sharon Fanning. "We were able to get the ball in the spots to make the easy shots, so that was very positive. Our composure and focus were positives of the second half."

State opened the first half tallying a 6-2 run to take the early lead before having it trimmed to three with 16:42 to play. Following a jumper from Miayorka Johnson, MSU extended the lead out to 10 with 14:42 on the clock. After SELU hit a jumper at the 14:04 mark, the Lady Bulldogs rattled off eight points to go ahead by 15 midway through the period. From there, MState used baskets from freshman guard Heather Hollis, senior guard Doceide Warren, senior forward Mamie McKinney and Porter to go up by 21 with 3:16 remaining in the first half. State held SELU to no field goals made during the half's remaining six minutes to take a 25-point lead into the locker room at the intermission, 45-20.

In the first period of play, MSU outscored the Lady Lions 30-4 in the paint. State scored 16 points off of turnovers compared to SELU's two.

In the second half, State took its lead out to 29 early and held a 20-plus point advantage until the 7:11 mark of the half. However, the Lady Lions could not muster enough power as MSU went back up by 20 with under three minutes to play. Despite a 6-0 run by SELU in the game's final second, the Lady Bulldogs held on to take the 71-55 win.

Henderson finished the game with a career-high 12 points and tied three other career-high categories with six rebounds, one assist and two blocks. Miayorka Johnson finished with a career-high 11 points. McKinney also set career highs in assists with seven and tied her career-high for blocks with three.

Cara Porter led the Lady Lions with 17 points, while Brenita Williams added 10.

State returns to action on Sunday against East Tennessee State at 2 p.m. in Humphrey Coliseum.


  • MSU is now 20-12 in season openers. The Lady Bulldogs are 15-0 in season opener's played at home.
  • Lady Bulldog head coach Sharon Fanning is now six wins shy of her 500th career win.
  • MSU now leads the series with Southeastern Louisiana 4-3. MSU is 15-7 all-time versus the Southland Conference.

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