#19 Lady Bulldogs Fall 64-60 To USC

ST. Thomas, V.I. - Mississippi State put together a late rally in the final minutes of the second half but it was not enough as they fell 64-60 to Southern California in the final game of the Paradise Jam.

The Lady Bulldogs (4-3) struggled from the field again on Saturday evening, shooting just 35.3 percent for the game. Meanwhile, they Trojans shot 41.4 percent for the game including 53.8 percent shooting in the first half.

The first half proved to be a back-and-forth battle between the two squads with two ties and six lead changes. Mississippi State opened the game with an 8-4 lead behind two three-point field goals from senior Tysheka Grimes. State would hold the lead until the 10:48 mark of the opening period when USC tied the game for the first time at 12-12. USC would take the lead for the first time on a three-pointer from Aarika Hughes with 9:52 remaining in the first half. The Trojans (3-3) would go on an 11-4 run in the final six minutes to take a 33-27 lead into intermission.

The Lady Bulldogs came out blazing early in the second half with a 9-0 run in the first two-and-a-half minutes. From that point, the lead was back-and-forth but was never more than three points for either team until the midway point of the second half. With 10:16 left in the contest, USC's Daniela Roark would hit the first of three big three-point baskets giving USC a five-point lead. USC would extend their lead to as many as nine points with 5:56 remaining.

In the final minutes, State would go on a 7-0 run to close the gap to two and with 14 seconds left, MSU senior Armelie Lumanu missed on a potential game-tying layup and fouled USC, sending them to the free-throw line. The Trojans would hit on their final four free throws to ice the game.

Lumanu led all Mississippi State scorers as she scored a season-high 19 points. Tysheka Grimes had 18 points while Alexis Rack had 13. USC's Hughes led the Trojan's charge with 14 points.

State turned the ball over 18 times with only eight assists. The Lady Bulldogs outrebounded USC 48-36.

Mississippi State now returns home to face Southern Miss on Dec. 2 at the Humphrey Coliseum. That game will get underway at 7 p.m. CT.

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