Lady Bulldogs Defeat Florida 72-56

GAINESVILLE, Fla. ­ The 12th-ranked Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs outscored the Florida Gators 40-10 over a 13-minute stretch in the second half to win convincingly, 83-54 in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville Sunday afternoon. The 29-point margin is the largest win for MSU over UF on the Gators home court. The margin also marked the second highest margin of victory in the series with UF. The Lady 'Dogs defeated UF by 32 points in Starkville during the 1979-80 campaign.

"This was a huge step for us," said head coach Sharon Fanning. "This was a team win," said Fanning.

State led throughout the first half until Florida took the lead at 17-16 on Bernice Mosby's jump shot with 9:40 left in the first 20 minutes. However, that one-point lead was the last one for the Orange and Blue.

Both teams shot the ball well in the first half. MSU made 14-of-34 from the field while UF shot 43 percent.

To open the second half the Gators cut the MSU lead down to three points with 18:19 to go in the game. That is when the Lady 'Dogs turned it up a notch on both ends of the floor. Tan White hit two consecutive three-pointers to give State a 47-38 advantage. The Lady 'Dogs built their lead out to as many as 33 points in the second half. They forced 21 UF turnovers, 13 in the second half. The Lady 'Dogs also dished out a season-high 24 assists and only turned the ball over 11 times.

"The run started with a lot of energy on both ends of the court," said Fanning. "Tan (White) hit some three-pointers and the intensity on the defensive end picked up."

The Maroon and White placed four players in double figures in scoring. LaToya Thomas picked up her 40th double-double of her career with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore forward Rebecca Kates poured in 19 points to tie her career-high in points. Kates was 3-of-6 from three-point range.

"Rebecca is becoming a student of the game, she was alert on some inbound plays," said Fanning.

Tan White added 17 points and nine rebounds. White also dished out seven assists and only had one turnover. Freshman Blessing Chekwa registered a new career-high with 17 points. Doceide Warren came off the bench for six points and seven rebounds.

Vanessa Hayden led Florida (8-12,0-7) with 12 points and eight boards. Bernice Mosby had nine, while Sarah Lowe contributed eight.

The Lady 'Dogs take their 16-4, 5-2 record to Athens, Georgia on Thursday to face off with the 18th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. ET in the Stegeman Coliseum on the UGA campus.

Gene's Page Top Stories