Fanning-Otis wants Lady Dogs tougher
By DANNY P. SMITH
It didn't take long for Mississippi State coach Sharon Fanning-Otis to find out where things went wrong on Wednesday night.
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When the Lady Bulldogs lost a 69-61 decision to Louisiana Tech, Fanning-Otis noticed negative points with assists to turnover ratio and opponent shooting percentage.
MSU only had nine assists and 16 turnovers, while allowing the Lady Techsters to shoot 44 percent from the field.
Those are areas where Fanning-Otis says must improve as the Lady Bulldogs move forward.
"We are not going to win games if we are going to do that," Fanning-Otis said. "We've got to be tougher. We have to continue to teach and get ready for a new game."
MSU gets that opportunity today when it hosts North Texas at Humphrey Coliseum. The tip is set for 1 p.m.
The Lady Bulldogs (3-2) look to get back on the winning track after things went sour in the second half against Louisiana Tech.
After having a 23-20 lead at halftime, MSU was out-scored by Tech 49-38 in the final 20 minutes.
Junior guard Diamber Johnson said the Lady Bulldogs lost their composure against the Lady Techsters and was anxious to get some things fixed prior to today's contest.
"We did a lot of things that we don't do in practice and we have to work on in the future," Johnson said.
Johnson will start at one guard spot for MSU, while junior Porsha Porter and senior Mary Kathryn Govero were the other starters at guard against Tech. Govero suffered a badly turned ankle on Wednesday, but is expected to play against North Texas. It is not clear if she will start.
Juniors Ashley Brown and Judith Tabala should start on the front line for the Lady Bulldogs.
In the first four games of the season, MSU had held opponents to only 47.2 points per game and was tops in the Southeastern Conference. Louisiana Tech exposed some weaknesses for the Lady Bulldogs with its near 70-point effort.
Fanning-Otis said MSU just didn't do a good enough job defensively against Tech.
"We can't lose focus and we must be tougher from now on," Fanning-Otis said. "I have told this team that their toughness will define them. We know how good this team is, but it's depending on if they mature and get tougher."