The Samford Lady Bulldogs, who were led in scoring by sophomore Emily London's 12 points, held the lead for all of 15 seconds taking a 2-1 lead at the 19:18 mark in the first half. The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs quickly took a 3-2 lead at the 19:03 mark, then went on a 14-0 run that was capped by a 3-pointer by true freshmen Ashley Jones.
State continued the onslaught thanks in large part to great defensive play that caused the Samford Lady Bulldogs to turn the ball over 12 times during the first half.
The Lady 'Dogs ended the first half with a 13-0 run, which resulted in a 40-10 difference at the half. Armelie Lumanu scored 6 of her 14 points during this the run.
After extending the lead to 55-16 at the 15.44 minute mark of the second half, the Lady Bulldogs seemed to relax on defense and Samford took advantage by outscoring Mississippi State 13-11 over the next seven and a half minutes. Sophomore Emily London scored 8 of her team-high 12 points during this timeframe.
For the remainder of the half, the two teams traded baskets.
"It is a bit of a change trying to come out and just blow them out because later in the half we are just trying to work on our offense," said Rack. "We weren't trying to attack, attack, attack like we usually do. We were trying to work on our offense and move the ball."
And they seem to do that very well, accumulating 19 assists on the night.
The Lady Bulldogs, in addition to playing well on the offensive side, had a very good night on the defensive side as well, causing 20 turnovers, the 8th time in nine games that they have caused 20 or more turnovers.
Mississippi State, using good communication on defense, were not confused by the Princeton style offense of Samford, holding a team that was shooting 38 percent from three point range coming into the game to 20 percent on the night.
"We had to have communication," said MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis. "They are going to run that clock and it's going to be 4, 5 or 6 passes and they are getting penetration from inside-outside. There were a lot of screens and a lot of switching, so that was important. I felt like we found a way to get that done.
"I felt like the first half was better than the second half. In the second half, we didn't get to block out like we needed to, and we gave up more looks."
Defense has been a strength of this year's Lady Bulldog team and Coach Fanning-Otis expects that to continue.
"The things we have to play to and with is our quickness and pressure defense," said Fanning-Otis. "We have to put pressure on the ball that's just the point of emphasis. We think that has to be a point of strength in order for us to get the basketball. So, that's what we need to start with every game defense and pressure on the ball."
The Lady Bulldogs continued their homestand with a Wednesday match-up against SWAC opponent Mississippi Valley State University. Gametime is set for noon at the Humphrey Coliseum.
Jeremiah Short is a columnist who covers various Mississippi State sports for GenesPage.com. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org