Lady Bulldogs Lose to USM, 64-57

STARKVILLE, Miss. -­ The Mississippi State University women's basketball team (1-4) fell to in-state rival Southern Mississippi (2-3), 64-57, Tuesday evening at Humphrey Coliseum. The Lady Bulldogs trailed 30-25 at halftime and never recovered from a 15-point second-half deficit.

"I am very pleased at the way we fought back and played down the stretch," said head coach Sharon Fanning. "I am disappointed in terms of the way that we started off the game. This is a huge disappointment in terms of the way we played and in terms of the percentages. The good thing is that we fought back. We had our four freshmen out there, but Southern Miss had a young team out there as well. We just didn't compete the way that we needed to compete for 40 minutes."

Southern Miss scored the game's opening basket to go up 3-0 before Porter tied the game with 17:53 left to play in the opening period. MSU took the lead at 7-5 on a jumper from Porter before USM recorded the first half's third tie at 7-7 with 14:25 remaining in the period. The Golden Eagles went up by two and stretched the lead out to four before the Lady Bulldogs began crawling back. With 10:48 left before the break, sophomore guard Miayorka Johnson gave MSU its second lead of the contest at 14-13. However, Southern Miss fought to regain the lead and eventually jumped out by seven with 57 seconds remaining. Despite a comeback effort from MSU, the Golden Eagles took a 30-25 advantage into the lockerroom at the intermission.

Haunted by a 30-19 USM rebounding advantage in the first period, MSU managed to hold the Golden Eagles to 36 percent field goal shooting in the period. Porter led MState during the half, scoring six points and bringing down five rebounds.

USM quickly added to its lead at the beginning of the second half. Going up by seven with 19:34 remaining, the Golden Eagles fended off a rally from the Lady Bulldogs throughout the half's first nine minutes. MSU eventually cut the Southern Miss-lead to three at the 18:55 mark and again at 12:31. USM hit a free throw with 11:59 left in the contest, and from then on, gradually pulled ahead. With 6:36 to play, the Golden Eagles went up by 15 at 56-41. State managed to fight back, cutting the lead to single digits with 1:56 left to play. But, it was not enough as USM held on for the 64-57 win.

Both squads combined for 57 turnovers on the night. MSU scored 29 of its total points from bench players compared to Southern Miss' six.

Freshman guard Robin Porter and junior forward/center Natasha Henderson, who tallied the first double-doubles of their careers, carried MSU. Porter finished with her first collegiate double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Henderson tied a career-high in points with 12 and set a new high in rebounds with 11. Miayorka Johnson tied her career-high point total with 11. Freshman forward Lauren Roberts also contributed 11 points.

Southern Miss was led by Kendra Reed's game-high 22 points. Ashley Boehnel added 12, while Ashley Harrell had 11.

State travels to Tallahassee, Fla. on Friday to face Florida State in a 3:30 p.m. CT match-up to be televised on Sun Sports. The Lady Bulldogs return home on Dec. 11 to host Maine in a 2 p.m. CT. contest at Humphrey Coliseum.

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