MSU women fall to Florida
The Florida Lady Gators had plenty of bite in the post on Sunday afternoon and the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs failed to bite back.
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Florida's starting post players of Azania Stewart and Ndidi Madu combined for 29 points and 10 rebounds, while MSU's pair of Catina Bett and Ashley Brown only had four points and seven rebounds.
That difference was just one of the reasons why the Lady Bulldogs remained winless in the Southeastern Conference after the 67-60 loss to the Lady Gators at Humphrey Coliseum.
MSU women's coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said the defense, especially on Stewart, wasn't where it needed to be. Stewart led Florida with 19 points.
"How are you going to drop down and help on her on a weak side?" Fanning-Otis said. "Whether you are in a vegas or a man, you have to be connected defensively. When you move, I move."
With the defense struggling to stop Stewart, it was the hope of Fanning-Otis that Bett and Brown could counter it somehow.
Brown was shut out of the scoring column, while all Bett could get was four points.
"That's got to change," Fanning-Otis said of the statistics coming from the post. "We have to have more balance. We've got to rebound better, defend better there and be tougher all over the floor."
The Lady Bulldogs fell to 8-12 overall and 0-8 in the SEC as postseason opportunities are starting to diminish.
Senior Mary Kathryn Govero and junior Portia Porter combined for 40 of MSU's 60 points.
Govero, who led the way with 22 points, said it was disappointing not to be able to cash in on another chance for a victory.
"It's tiring of having opportunities not being fulfilled," Govero said. "It's going to be fulfilling when we get the victory. We just have to do the same things through the whole game to get the results we need."
Govero specifically pointed to the lack of as to what hurt the team's effort once again. The Lady Bulldogs were out-rebounded 37-27.
"That seems to be the problem with us game in and game out," Govero said.
Mississippi State stayed in the game in the first half courtesy of the long-range shooting of Govero and Porter.
One of the three-point field goals by Govero tied the game at 18-18 with 8:35 left in the first half.
Govero and Porter hit three three-pointers each as the Lady Bulldogs trailed 36-33 at halftime.
After Florida had taken a 63-55 advantage on a three-pointer by Jordan Jones with 1:48 remaining in the game, MSU came back to make it a one possession game at 63-60 with 28 seconds left on a three-pointer by Danielle Rector.
The Lady Gators (14-9, 4-5) scored the final four points of the game with a pair of free throws each by Jones and Lanita Bartley.
Fanning-Otis said the Lady Bulldogs weren't necessarily trying to foul in the closing moments, but just play good face defense.
"We were trying to steal the ball and get a 5-second count," Fanning-Otis said. "You've got to get yourself in a position to where you are between them and the ball so we can force a lob or get a 5-second count. From a time and score standpoint, I felt like we were in a position where you could win the game."
MSU will make attempt number nine at an SEC victory on Thursday night when it hosts Alabama.
"Right now, we've really got to push this team to play harder and stay focused," Fanning-Otis said.