MSU Lady Dogs Dominate Alcorn State 108-67

The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs came into their game Wednesday night looking for a confidence boost after a tough loss to Xavier on the road. And thanks to senior Armelie Lumanu's career day they got just that as they took care of business, defeating the Lady Braves of Alcorn State 108-67 in front of a Humphrey Coliseum crowd of 1,041.

"I felt good," said Armelie Lumanu, who scored a career-high 29 points while grabbing 8 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists in 32 minutes of play. "It did feel like a career high. I felt like I was in the zone."

Four other Lady Bulldogs also scored in double figures including Alexis Rack with 21, Chanel Mokango had 14 and both Tysheka Grimes and Diamber Johnson poured in 10 apiece.

Kiara Ruffin had a good day for the Lady Braves scoring 14 points in a losing effort.

The Lady Bulldogs got off to a slow start, allowing the Lady Braves to take an early 7-9 lead. But Lumanu scored two straight baskets to give the Lady Bulldogs a 11-9 lead at the 17:25 mark. The two teams traded baskets over the next four minutes. Then Lumanu sparked a 8-0 run which gave the Lady Bulldogs a 25-17 lead. Lumanu scored 10 of those 25 points.

The Lady Bulldogs continued to pull away as the half progressed, leading by as much as 17 at one point. The Lady Braves chipped away slightly at the lead, bringing it down to 12. But the Lady Bulldogs caught fire in the last three minutes, going on 12-0 run that gave them a 26-point lead into the half. Lumanu had already scored 20 points and pulled down five rebounds at this point.

"Armelie is an unselfish player and loves to share the ball," said head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis. "(She) is always giving that extra pass and usually has a better shot when she gets the pass back. She scored a lot tonight and that's because she, and the whole team, put herself in the best position to score.

"The one thing I want her to understand about tonight is the balance in her game. She scored a career-high but also had five assists and her transition play was very effective. Also, Armelie practiced this week like she played tonight and became a very vocal leader on the court."

The Lady Bulldogs decided not to take the foot off the brake as they came out strong in the second half.

Chanel Mokango got things started, hitting on a jumper after a rebound of Rack's miss from deep. After trading baskets for the next few minutes, the Lady Bulldogs managed to ice the game with a 11-0 run that put them out front by 46 points.

The Lady Bulldogs, clearing the bench in the last few minutes of the contest, managed to hit the 100-point mark after another 9-0 run, which was capped by a Channa Campbell crowd-pleasing three-point shot.

This game was just what the Lady Bulldogs needed after their loss to Xavier and Christmas break.

"It helped us get the kinks out and move into a more smooth style of play," said Rack. "Now that we're back from Christmas break, it's important for us to get into a good flow. We've been having some good practices and it felt good to compete like we did tonight."

The Lady Bulldogs probably played one of their best games, compiling some impressive stats. The most encouraging stat is that they scored 60 of their 108 points in the paint, taking advantage of the Lady Braves lack of size inside. They also shared the ball well, combining for 26 assists on the night. The Lady Bulldogs also connected on 45 percent of their three-point attempts, as well as connecting on 81 percent of their free-throw attempts. And as has been the pattern the entire season, they also forced over 20 turnovers, 23 in fact. The bench was also able to get involved, as they chipped in 25 points.

"This was a good team win," said Fanning-Otis. "I told them at halftime that they shared the ball and communicated very well. It was also great to see everyone play and get a feel for the ball. We scored a lot of points in the paint tonight and were able to test our man and zone defenses."

The Lady Bulldogs now move into conference play for the first time, traveling to Auburn for a 2 p.m. Sunday game.

"Auburn has the biggest girl in the paint and one of the best 40-minute shooting guards in the league," said Fanning-Otis. "We definitely have to shoot above 45% and keep them below 40%. We have to make at least 10 more free throws than Auburn and want to have a +10 rebound ratio."


Jeremiah Short covers various Mississippi State sports for GenesPage.com. He can be reached by email at moot2005@yahoo.com


Gene's Page Top Stories