COLLEGE PARK, Maryland - A 16-1 run to open the second half lifted the Mississippi State women's basketball team past Marshall 73-65 in the opening game of the University of Maryland hosted Terrapin Classic Monday afternoon at the Comcast Center.
The victory moved the Lady Bulldogs 11-0 on the season. That start matches the best start in school history. The MSU ladies also won the first 11 games of the 1999-2000 season. Conference USA member Marshall fell to 6-5. The Lady Bulldogs have now beaten three C-USA opponents this season.
MSU trailed the entire first half, including a 27-17 deficit with 6:29 left in the half. A late rally to end the half cut the halftime deficit to 32-29. In the final 20 minutes, it was all Lady Bulldogs.
The 16-1 run allowed MSU to open a 45-33 advantage with 15:57 remaining. MSU then stretched the lead to as many as 18 points at 67-49 with 4:31 remaining. Marshall then rammed home three 3-point baskets in the closing minutes to close within 69-63 inside the final minute of play.
The Lady Bulldogs forced five turnovers during the decisive 16-1 run. MSU grabbed its first lead at 34-33 on an Alexis Rack 3-point basket. Mary Kathryn Govero had a fast-break steal and layup during the run. Tysheka Grimes also had a pair of steals also leading to points on the offensive end.
Rack hit five 3-point baskets and paced the Lady Bulldogs with 23 points. Also in double figures were Armelie Lumanu with 15 points, Tysheka Grimes with 12 points and Mary Kathryn Govero with 11 points. Chanel Mokango had a team-high six rebounds while Grimes had two of MSU's four blocked shots in the game.
Marshall received a team-high 20 points from Alyssa Hammond. Casey Baker scored three 3-point baskets and added 18 points. Chanetelle Handy had a team-high seven rebounds for the Thundering Herd.
For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs were 26 of 55 from the field (47.3 percent), 7 of 16 from 3-point range (43.8 percent) and 14 of 22 from the foul line (63.6 percent). The Thundering Herd was 23 of 51 from the field (45.1 percent), 6 of 12 from 3-point range (50 percent) and 13 of 18 at the foul line (72.2 percent).
Marshall held a 33-31 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had 12 assists and 20 turnovers, while the Herd had 14 assists and 23 turnovers.
The Lady Bulldogs will face either 14th-ranked Maryland or North Carolina-Asheville in Tuesday's championship game. That contest is slated for a 1 p.m. CT start. The Lady Bulldogs then return home for a pair of games - UAB at 7 p.m. Friday and Xavier at 2 p.m. Sunday.