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MSU women look to keep momentum going

January 15, 2012

Diamber Johnson (3) of the Lady Bulldogs goes after a loose basketball. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs see if the momentum from a big Southeastern Conference victory on the road carries over against one of the top teams in the nation today.

After defeating Alabama 66-61 in Tuscaloosa Thursday night, MSU plays the 19th-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs at Humphrey Coliseum. The tip is set for 2 p.m.

State's women's coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said there are reasons to be proud of the win against the Lady Crimson Tide and hopes her Lady Bulldogs use the emotion of that accomplishment in a positive way.

"Winning always helps with the expectation for the next game," Fanning-Otis said. "I was proud of the way we came from behind and won on the road. We were the only road team to win Thursday night, and we are one of only two teams to win in (Alabama's) Foster Auditorium. We found a way to win the game. We had a lot of positives in the second half, and we hope that carries over to (today)."

MSU, which stands 11-5 overall and 1-2 in the SEC, will be led into the battle of the Lady Bulldogs by senior point guard Diamber Johnson.

Johnson, who scored 22 points against Alabama, leads the SEC with a 17.6 points per game average. She only needs six points to reach 900 for her career.

Georgia comes to Starkville after also winning on Thursday, a 61-55 decision against Florida. The Lady Bulldogs from the Peach State has records of 14-3 overall and 3-1 in the SEC.

"Our basketball team has played reasonably well overall," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "We've continued to improve. It's both positive and exciting. The players continue to develop and improve collectively as a basketball team. I'm pleased with where we are at."

Jasmine Hassell averages 13.4 points per game to lead Georgia, while Khaalidah Miller is a close second with 13.1 points per outing.

Hassell and Miller both lead their Lady Bulldog squad with 10.9 rebounds per game.

"Georgia is a very athletic team," Fanning-Otis said. "They play with a lot of energy and bounce. They are a long team that is tough inside, but can work it outside. They are a very physical team that has a lot of experience and will show a lot of half-court and full-court pressure. You have to be strong with the ball when you play them."

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