Louisiana Tech Holds Off Lady Bulldogs, 52-41

RUSTON, La. - The Mississippi State University women's basketball team dropped its second road contest of the season on Tuesday night against Louisiana Tech, 52-41. The Lady Bulldogs (2-6) rallied to pull within four late in the second half, but were unable to fend off the Lady Techsters (5-2).

"When you hold a team to under 30 percent shooting, that's a good thing," said MSU head coach Sharon Fanning. "The turnovers made a big difference. A defensive block out, another free throw chance, an offensive rebound or one better screen, and it changes things. Miayorka (Johnson), Mamie (McKinney) and Blessing (Chekwa) came in and played well. Heather Hollis loosened up. Even though we missed some shots, they were good shots. We played hard. We were focused and listened. It was a good team effort.

"It's the little steps. With everyone trying to contribute, it gives us a chance to win big games."

Louisiana Tech struck first, scoring the game's first seven points to take an early 7-0 lead at the 15:40 mark. Following a defensive battle, with neither team scoring for almost three minutes. The Lady Bulldogs got some help from sophomore guard Miayorka Johnson who hit MSU's first basket of the game at the 12:40 mark and scored State's next ensuing seven points to pull the Lady Bulldogs to within one midway through the period. Louisiana Tech held a six-point advantage before senior forward Mamie McKinney's jumper at 6:43 brought State back to within two. However, the Lady Techsters extended their lead to take a 10-point, 28-18, advantage into the locker room at the half.

Louisiana Tech continued the rally during the opening minutes of the second half. The Lady Techsters hit a three-pointer as the half's opening basket and jumped up by 14 with 16:05 left in the contest. Miayorka Johnson, McKinney, senior guard/forward Blessing Chekwa and freshman forward Heather Hollis each hit jumpers and a free throw from McKinney cut the Louisiana Tech lead to four with 7:07 remaining in the game. With 5:04 left to play, senior guard Doceide Warren hit one-of-two from the charity stripe to bring State back to within four. However, the Lady Techsters scored none straight points from the free-throw line and held MSU to four points in the game's remaining 3:37 to win 52-41.

Miayorka Johnson led MSU with a career-high 14 points, while McKinney added 11. Chekwa brought down a season-high six rebounds. Warren provided 19 quality minutes.

Aarica Ray-Boyd led Louisiana Tech with 16 points.

The Lady Bulldogs return to action Thursday night, Dec. 15, against the University of New Orleans. The game will be played at the Herrington Patriot Center in Tyler, Texas. Following Thursday's contest, State returns home Dec. 19-20 to host the MSU Classic at Humphrey Coliseum.

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