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Lady Bulldogs let lead slip away in home loss

January 6, 2012

(Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs held LSU to its lowest point total ever in Starkville.

Unfortunately, the the Lady Bulldogs couldn't take advantage of the off night offensively by the Lady Tigers.

LSU out-scored MSU 14-2 down the stretch and earned a 53-48 victory at Humphrey Coliseum.

The Lady Bulldogs held the Lady Tigers to 32 percent shooting (20-of-62) from the field, but could only manage a little bit better at 35 percent (20-of-58).

"We were passive offensively," MSU coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. "We had a long talk that Diamber needs to drive more and make some things happen. We didn't attack."

Fanning-Otis said the lack of rebounding was a big key, along with missing free throws. The Lady Bulldogs were out-rebounded 43-41 and only hit 2-of-8 off the free-throw line.

LSU swept its two games in Mississippi to begin Southeastern Conference play and improved to 11-3 overall. The Lady Tigers won at Ole Miss 83-44 last Sunday.

MSU senior point guard Diamber Johnson felt like one got away as the
The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs held LSU to its lowest point total ever in Starkville.

Unfortunately, the the Lady Bulldogs couldn't take advantage of the off night offensively by the Lady Tigers.

LSU out-scored MSU 14-2 down the stretch and earned a 53-48 victory at Humphrey Coliseum.

Lady Bulldogs lost their first conference game and fell to 10-4 overall.

"LSU was not better than us," Johnson said. "We just beat ourselves. Between rebounding and executing, we just didn't do enough of the little things."

After holding a nine-point lead with 8:46 remaining in the game on a basket by Martha Alwal, MSU looked on as LSU cut the margin down the stretch and eventually gained the advantage at 47-46 with 1:50 left on a putback by Krystal Forthan. It was Forthan's only basket of the game.

"She had a big offensive rebound," Nikki Caldwell, coach of the Lady Tigers said. "Minutes don't matter. We just have to play hard. We always talk about being a contributor and being positive. Krystal did just that and came back with a big time offensive basket when we needed it the most."

The Lady Bulldogs knew they had LSU on the ropes in the second half and were disappointed they couldn't close out a win.

"Some of the kids were saying during one of the timeouts that we need to put them away and for whatever reason, we didn't," Fanning-Otis said. "You have to grind for 40 minutes. You can't grind for just 30 and not continue to attack. The bottom line is we have to be tougher for a longer period of time."

MSU held a 16-9 lead with 9:37 remaining in the first half following a 3-point field goal by Kendra Grant. The Lady Bulldogs went cold at that point and did not score again until Grant hit another shot from long range at the 3:10 mark of the first half.

The Lady Tigers took advantage of the struggles by MSU and went on a 10-0 run to take a 19-16 advantage, but Grant's 3-pointer tied the game at 19-19.

After a basket by Adrienne Webb put LSU back on top 21-19, the Lady Bulldogs finished the half strong with a 3-pointer by Darriel Gaynor and a free throw by former West Oktibbeha player Shamia Robinson to take a 23-21 halftime lead.

Bett and Grant were the only Lady Bulldogs to score in double digits with 11 points each and they know that production needs to be more spread out.

"We do need more balance," Bett said. "We have to become more consistent in the post."

Mississippi State travels to Kentucky Sunday to continue SEC play.

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