Lady Bulldogs Roll Over Arkansas, 72-59

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. ­ The 12th-ranked Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs ended the Fayetteville jinx with a 72-59 win over the 14th-ranked Lady Razorbacks of Arkansas at Bud Walton Arena Thursday night. The 13-point win was their first in six attempts.

MSU opened the game with a 21-2 run to take a 19-point lead with 11:39 in the first half. The Lady 'Backs didn't hit their first basket until the 15:13 mark. UA trimmed the lead down to 12 points with five minutes left play in the half. State equaled its biggest lead of 19 points in the first 20 minutes at 36-17 with a minute left to play, they would take a 17-point margin into halftime break. The Maroon and White held UA to its lowest first half output and limited them to just 25 percent (7-of-28).

"I can't think of a bigger win," said head coach Sharon Fanning. "We got a sizeable lead, we found a way to attack them. I am very proud of this win."

The Lady 'Dogs came out of the dressing room the same way they opened the game. They outscored the Lady 'Backs 12-4 in the opening minutes of the half to take their biggest lead of the game, 26 points, at the 13:10 mark. Arkansas caught fire midway through the half and made a run of their own. UA cut the deficit down to 11 points, 64-53, with three minutes left to play, but the Lady Bulldogs hit free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

LaToya Thomas finished with 35 points and seven rebounds. Thomas was 12-of-14 from the charity stripe, both season-highs for the Greenville, Miss. native. She now has 2,791 total career points, placing her third on the Southeastern Conference's all-time women's scorer's list. Tan White registered 25 points and eight boards, the sophomore also recorded six steals. Freshman forward Blessing Chekwa pulled down a career-high 10 boards.

"This is a team (Arkansas) that beat LSU here," said Fanning. "If you are going to win in this league you have to win on the road."

MSU improves to 19-6, 7-4 SEC, while UA dropped to 19-7, 6-5 SEC. The win moves the Lady ‘Dogs into a fourth-place tie in the SEC standings with Vanderbilt.

State returns home Sunday to face rival Mississippi in a 4 p.m. tip off time in the Humphrey Coliseum. They close out the home portion of the regular season with a Thursday night rematch with the Georgia Bulldogs.

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