BATON ROUGE, La. - Mississippi State closed out the regular season with a 62-48 setback to the 3rd-ranked LSU Lady Tigers Sunday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Lady Bulldogs held LSU to its second lowest point total of the season with their 68 points. The Lady Tigers season-low in points came in their loss to Connecticut.
MSU managed a quick start against LSU, taking an early four-point lead two minutes deep in to the contest at the 17:53 mark. The lead was State's only one of the contest, but managed to even the score at 16 apiece with 9:18 to play in the opening half on senior Doceide Warren's trey. From that point on in the half, LSU closed the half on a 15-2 scoring surge to take a 31-18 lead in to the locker room. MState's final two points came off Natasha Henderson's free throws at the end of the opening stanza.
In the final half, LSU expanded its lead out to as many as a game-high 20 points on two occasions. At the 10:35 mark the Purple and Gold had a 44-24 after Seimone Augustus's free throws. Augustus finished with 27 points on a 12-of-25 shooting performance. State trimmed the margin down to 14 points with Mamie McKinney's jumper in the paint. LSU scored 16 points off 18 MState turnovers, while both teams pulled down 39 rebounds each. The Lady Tiger's Sylvia Fowles registered a double-double with 12 points and pulled down 10 boards.
"We lost focus in the first half, but we definitely fought back in the second half to try to cut it (the lead) to single digits," said MSU head coach Sharon Fanning. "The fight is very important and we need to value every possession. Thursday (the SEC Tournament) is a whole new season regardless of the opponent. We need to stay focused."
The Maroon and White were paced by freshman Robin Porter's 17 points in 36 minutes of activity and senior Mamie McKinney's season-high 14 points. Porter was one board shy of her fourth double-double of the season. McKinney pulled down seven boards in the contest.
MSU's offense was kick-started by connecting on 6-of-15 (40 percent) from behind the arc.
The Lady Bulldogs will take part in the Southeastern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament this week in North Little Rock, Ark. at Alltel Arena. State will be the No. 12 seed and will face the No. 5 seed, which is yet to be determined. Tip off is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT.
Women's Track & Field
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Mississippi State University senior Jen McPherson ran the mile run in 4 minutes, 52.99 seconds to finish fourth in the event on the final day of the 2006 Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. State's distance medley relay squad of McPherson, freshman Antrese Banks, sophomore Andrea Wahlin and senior Zita Magloire ran 11:43.77 to finish fifth and post the fourth-best time in school history.
"There's next year," said MSU head coach Al Schmidt. "We're not a good indoor team just yet. We'll get it done though."
In the 4x400-meter relay, Banks, freshman Gabrielle Dillon, freshman Marrissa Banks and senior Lauren Johnson ran a season-best 3:59.21 to finish 10th. Freshman Janelle Finley leaped 38-09 in the long jump. The mark is a personal best for the Mobile, Ala. native and ranks third all-time on the MSU superlatives list in the event. Freshman Emily Sanders (51-03 Â½) and junior Christina Hernandez (47-05) competed in the 20-lb. weight throw on the final day, as well.
As a team, the Lady Bulldogs finished 11th with 13 points. Georgia beat out Auburn 101.5 to 96 to take the conference title. South Carolina and Tennessee tied for third with 78.5 points each. Arkansas (73), Alabama (70.5), LSU (62.5), Florida (45.5), Kentucky (26) and Mississippi (16) rounded out the top 10 teams. MSU finished ahead of 12th-place Vanderbilt, who had two points.
The Lady Bulldogs begin the outdoor season March 16-19 at the Alabama Relays in Tuscaloosa. The menâ€™s squad begins outdoor competition next weekend, March 3-4, at the Florida State-hosted FSU Snowbird in Tallahassee.