When MSU needed it the most, the Lady Bulldogs again found another gear on the defensive end. Kentucky scored the first 12 points of the game but MSU eventually got things together and pulled even at 21-21. UK scored in the final second of the opening half to lead 23-21 at the intermission.
"We missed some layups early," MSU head coach Sharon Fanning said. "We switched defensively to the matchup (zone), it got us some stops, some transition baskets and then we were off and running."
In the second half, the lead switched hands a couple of times before Mary Kathryn Govero put MSU ahead on a 3-point basket at 27-25 in the early stages of the final half. Later, MSU would break a 31-31 tie with a game-deciding 8-1 run, including a 3-point basket by Diamber Johnson.
Chanel Mokango paced the Lady Bulldogs with 15 points, while Armelie Lumanu and Govero each added 11 points. Donnisha Tate had a team-high 12 rebounds in 14 minutes of play off the bench. Mokango added nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
Eleia Roddy paced Kentucky with 18 points, while Victoria Dunlap added 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs were 20 of 56 from the field (35.7 percent), 6 of 13 from 3-point range (46.2 percent) and 6 of 12 from the foul line (50.0 percent). The Lady Wildcats were 18 of 57 from the field (31.6 percent), 2 of 13 from 3-point range (15.4 percent) and 7 of 13 from the foul line (53.8 percent).
MSU held a 43-38 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had eight assists and 14 turnovers, while the Lady Wildcats had 10 assists and 13 turnovers. MSU was credited with seven blocked shots in the contest.
"Rebounding was a very big part of this win," Fanning said. "We gave up 21 offensive rebounds Thursday (in a loss to Tennessee). We had to block out better and get more second looks. Today, we did that in this game."
The Lady Bulldogs remain on the road for their next contest. MSU plays LSU in a 7 p.m. start Thursday night in the Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge. The Lady Bulldogs then return home for a 2 p.m. Sunday contest against Arkansas. That contest will be shown regionally by Fox Sports Net South.