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By DANNY P. SMITH
The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs prided themselves of only giving up 55.1 points per game, which was second in the Southeastern Conference.
On Thursday night, the Lady Bulldogs watched as the LSU Lady Tigers exploited their defense to win a 72-55 decision at Humphrey Coliseum.
The Lady Tigers shot 51 percent (27 of 53) from the field and Adrienne Webb and Jeanne Kenney combined for 43 points alone.
"That was the best we've shot it all year," said LSU coach and Louisville native Van Chancellor. "They zoned us and we did a great job of kicking it out. We could have made them from Tupelo."
Webb had a game-high of 26 points, while Kenney added 17 to lead the Lady Tigers, who improved to 12-6 overall and 2-2 in the Southeastern Conference.
Mississippi State allowed LSU open shots and Webb said it was up to the Lady Tigers to hit those shots.
"It was just knocking down open shots and finding the open person," Webb said. "When you get the opportunity with the offense we run and moving the ball, you have to make them. It's not forcing the shots, but getting into the offense and finding the open shot."
The Lady Bulldogs seemed helpless as Webb and Kenney were sinking shot after shot.
"When they put the two shooters on the floor, we just didn't match up well enough," MSU coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said.
The Lady Bulldogs jumped out to a fast 5-0 lead with a jumper by Catina Bett and a three-point field goal by Diamber Johnson.
LSU came right back to tie the game on a three-pointer by Destini Hughes and a jumper by Webb.
After Darriel Gaynor hit a shot from three-point range to give MSU an 8-5 advantage with 13:51 remaining in the first half, Webb answered from long range to tie the game, then LaSondra Barrett hit a basket at the 10:59 mark to give the Lady Tigers the lead for good. LSU's lead grew to 29-19 with 4:01 remaining in the first half.
A pair of free throws by Johnson with 1.2 seconds left in the first half helped the Lady Bulldogs close the scoring gap to 32-26 at halftime. After not starting for the first time this season, Johnson scored seven points in the first half.
The Lady Tigers built as much as a 21-point margin at 66-45 with 3:24 left to play in the game and MSU just didn't have enough firepower to come back.
The Lady Bulldogs didn't have a player in double digits in the scoring column until the 8:53 mark of the second half when Bett hit a pair of free throws for her 10th point.
"We haven't had the points we needed to have as a team," Fanning-Otis said. "It's a process for us right now and it's tough when we don't win, but that's where you have to step up and have character, work ethic, continue to fight and find ways to get it done."
Bett was the leading scorer for MSU with 15 points, but only hit five of 13 shots from the field.
"I know she didn't have the percentage that we need, but I felt like she did go to the rim and post up," Fanning-Otis said. "She needs to keep it simple. She needs to have a left jump hook, a left pivot shot, a pump fake or a pump fake step through. She doesn't need to put the ball on the floor, but get people deeper before taking a shot."
Mary Kathryn Govero and Porsha Porter were the only other Lady Bulldogs to score in double digits with 10 points each.
Johnson didn't return in the second half with what appeared to be a blow to the head.
After the game, Fanning-Otis said Johnson seemed to be experiencing the symptoms of a concussion. She will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
MSU (8-7, 0-3) goes on the road for the first time this season in SEC play when they take on the Kentucky Lady Wildcats Sunday in Lexington. The Fox Sports Net telecast is set for noon.