Lady 'Dogs Top In-State Rival Southern Miss

STARKVILLE, Miss. - An 11-0 run late in the first half gave Mississippi State the lead for good as the Lady Bulldogs rolled over in-state rival Southern Mississippi 85-52 in a women's basketball game played Wednesday night in the Humphrey Coliseum.

After a sluggish first half, the Lady Bulldogs (5-3) pulled away with 47 points in the game's final half. MSU moved to 5-0 at home this season and also snapped a three-game losing streak with Wednesday's victory. The Lady Bulldogs have won all five home games by 29 or more points on the young campaign.

In the rivalry, the Lady Bulldogs have now won their last three regular season matchups against the Lady Eagles.

"We have to do the little things better," MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. "It is all about passion and commitment to detail. We lost our focus at key stretches in the game. After the game, we talked about playing hard and making a commitment to the game."

Wednesday's contest started off as a struggle for both teams. The lead changed hands twice and the score was tied six times over the first 12 minutes of the half. The teams were tied 21-21 with 7:43 left in the half. A 3-point basket and putback layup by Mary Kathryn Govero sparked an 11-0 run as the hosts opened a 32-21 advantage.

Southern Miss (3-4) managed only one field goal over the final 7:43 of the half - a 3-point basket by Danielle Johnson in the final half minute of the half. The Lady Eagles committed 17 turnovers in the opening half.

MSU led 38-28 at halftime.

In the final half, the Lady Bulldogs started things with a 12-5 run and were never threatened in the game's final 20 minutes. MSU received five late points from Danielle Rector as it closed out business on a game-ending 14-4 run.

"A positive is that we had five players in double figures," Fanning-Otis said. "We came back from a long road trip and now we are beginning exams, so there are lot of distractions. The key is working hard to become a better basketball team."

For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 32 of 60 shots from the field (53.3 percent), 7 of 18 shots from 3-point range (38.9 percent) and 14 of 16 shots from the foul line (87.5 percent). The Lady Eagles hit 20 of 52 shots from the field (38.5 percent), 2 of 13 shots from 3-point range (15.4 percent) and 10 of 17 shots from the foul line (58.8 percent).

Govero and Alexis Rack each led the MSU offensive attack with 21 points. For Govero, that total marked a new career high. Also in double figures were Armelie Lumanu with 16 points and Tysheka Grimes with 12 points. Chanel Mokango had a team-high eight rebounds, while Rack dished out a season-high nine assists.

Robin Murphy and Pauline Love each had 14 points for Southern Miss. Love had a game-high 10 rebounds for the Lady Eagles.

The Lady Bulldogs had 20 assists and 18 turnovers, while the Lady Eagles had nine assists and 27 turnovers. MSU has forced 20 or more turnovers in seven of their first eight contests this season.

MSU now takes time off for final examinations. The Lady Bulldogs return to action on Saturday, Dec. 12 with a 7 p.m. start at Louisiana Tech. MSU hosts Samford at 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 14.

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