Lady Bulldogs Rout Crimson Tide

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State led from start to finish in a 77-44 dismantling of Alabama in a Southeastern Conference women's basketball game played Thursday night in the Humphrey Coliseum.

The Lady Bulldogs improved to 15-8 overall and 6-4 in conference play, while the Crimson Tide fell to 9-14 and 1-9. It was a critical win for the Bulldogs, who remained in a tie for with Vanderbilt and Georgia, while that trio moved that tie into third place in the league race.

For M-State, it was their largest margin of victory ever in its 12th career victory against Alabama. The margin was also the third-greatest ever in a conference win for the Lady Bulldogs. In the overall series, MSU has knocked off its neighboring rivals on four straight occasions.

Thursday's contest was never in doubt. The Lady Bulldogs scored the game's first six points and quickly sprinted to a 16-4 advantage less than seven minutes into the game. Despite hitting only 3-of-17 attempts from 3-point land in the opening half, the hosts led 32-14 at the intermission.

For MSU, it was their best defensive half and lowest point total allowed in a conference game this season.

"In the second half, we got the ball inside more and found a way to get to the free throw line," MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. "We continued to take really good shots and they started falling. At halftime, we talked about patience because we were doing some good things on offense and shots were not falling."

In the second half, MSU scoring lead Alexis Rack assumed the leadership role as the Lady Bulldogs built a commanding lead. Rack only hit 3-of-15 shots from the field for 10 total points. However, her stat line included nine assists and four steals.

"Alexis really did a good job of getting her teammates involved in the game," Fanning-Otis said. "That is what a leader does. When the shots are not falling, a leader finds a way to help her team in other ways. I thought Alexis did a good job of that."

One Bulldog who did have the shooting touch was junior forward Mary Kathryn Govero. Govero matched a career-high with 22 points, including four 3-point baskets.

An 11-2 run in the early stages of the second half allowed the Lady Bulldogs to open a 45-20 advantage slightly more than four minutes into the game's final half. An 11-0 run late in the half allowed the hosts to open their largest advantage, at 77-40 in the game's final minute.

For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 28 of 73 shots from the field (38.4 percent), 8 of 28 shots from 3-point range (28.6 percent) and 13 of 18 shots from the foul line (72.2 percent). The Crimson Tide hit 19 of 67 shots from the field (28.4 percent), 3 of 16 shots from 3-point range (18.8 percent) and 3 of 9 shots from the foul line (33.3 percent).

MSU held a 55-44 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had 18 assists and 14 turnovers, while the Crimson Tide had seven assists and 18 turnovers.

Armelie Lumanu posted her fourth double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Rima Kolanda had a career-high 12 rebounds for the Lady Bulldogs.

Alabama received 11 points from Tierney Jenkins.

The Lady Bulldogs return to the road Sunday with a contest against the Florida Gators. Tip off is set for noon CT from the O'Connell Center in Gainesville. That contest will be televised regionally by Sun Sports.


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