Lady Bulldogs Suffer First Home Loss

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State saw the magic on its home floor come to an abrupt halt Sunday afternoon, as the Lady Bulldogs dropped their first decision of this season in the Humphrey Coliseum - a 75-48 setback to fourth-ranked Tennessee in Southeastern Conference women's basketball action.

A season-best crowd of 5,787 (third largest in school history) could not pull the Lady Bulldogs to their second home upset of the weekend. Fresh off a 90-76 win over No. 17 Vanderbilt Thursday night, the Lady Bulldogs could not match that offensive rhythm in another showdown with the Volunteer State.

MSU falls to 11-5 overall and 2-1 in league play - missing out on what would have been the first 3-0 league start in school history. The Lady Bulldogs are now 9-1 in the Humphrey Coliseum this season. Tennessee improved to 14-1 overall and 2-0 in league play, thanks to its 31st straight win in this series.

Tennessee scored the first four points of the game and were never tied or trailed the remainder of the way. The Lady Vols sprinted to a 22-11 advantage midway through the first half, as the Lady Bulldogs missed nine of their first 11 shots from the field. The defensive presence also struggled to keep up early. Tennessee only made three first-half turnovers.

Once established, the Lady Vols maintained a double-digit advantage the remainder of the contest. A 10-2 run allowed UT to open a 32-15 lead with 2:45 left in the half. MSU shot 25.9 percent from the field in the opening half and trailed 39-18 at the intermission.

The Lady Vols also scored the first four points of the game's final half and were not threatened in the final 20 minutes of play. The Lady Bulldogs did receive a spark from Alexis Rack, who hit four 3-point baskets in the game's final half. After allowing the first four points of the second half, the Lady Bulldogs pulled no closer than 24 on two different occasions.

For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 18 of 64 shots from the field (28.1 percent), 8 of 30 shots from 3-point range (26.7 percent) and 4 of 7 shots from the foul line (57.1 percent). The Lady Vols hit 32 of 69 shots from the field (46.4 percent), 6 of 19 shots from 3-point range (31.6 percent) and 5 of 10 shots from the foul line (50.0 percent).

UT held a 47-40 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had 12 assists and 17 turnovers, while the Lady Vols had 19 assists and 10 turnovers.

Rack paced the Lady Bulldogs with 19 points. Mary Kathryn Govero was also in double figures with 13 points. Chanel Mokango had a team-high nine rebounds, while Govero had eight rebounds. Diamber Johnson had a team-high six assists.

UT received 16 points from both Angie Bjorklund and Glory Johnson, while Taber Spani added 12 points. Johnson had a double-double, also pulling down 15 rebounds. Shekinna Stricklen dished out six assists for the Lady Vols.

The Lady Bulldogs return to the road for their next activity. MSU plays Arkansas in a 7 p.m. start Thursday at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. The Bulldogs host Florida in a 2 p.m. start next Sunday in the Humphrey Coliseum. The MSU-UF contest will be televised regionally by Fox Sports Net South.

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