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Lady Bulldogs suffer rocky night offensively

January 27, 2012

It was a rocky night offensively for the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs basketball team.

The Arkansas Lady Razorbacks came away with a 51-35 victory Thursday night in Humphrey Coliseum.

The Lady Bulldogs managed to shoot only 25.5 percent from the field (13-of-51).

"We would get past them, but we weren't hitting the wide open shots," MSU freshman Kendra Grant said. "It is something we have to work on. This just wasn't the game for us."

Senior Diamber Johnson played with much more on her mind other than basketball.

Johnson's mother suffered a heart attack early in the morning, and she spent much of the day with her.

"I didn't realize I didn't eat till I got here," Johnson said. "And of course it effected my play. People were telling me that they needed me, but I just didn't have the energy."

MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis did not know if she should play Johnson or not, but Johnson said she wanted to play.

"You can't make too much of anything," Fanning-Otis said. "When you take her out of the lineup, there is going to be somebody who has never been there before so we decided to go with her.

"It is one of those situations where she wanted to get back and play. It is where you prepare everyone to play."

Grant and the rest of the team tried to rally behind her.

"We came together as a team and supported her," Grant said. "We just couldn't pull it together tonight."

The Lady Bulldogs held a 16-10 lead with 7:52 remaining in the first half. The Lady Razorbacks answered scoring the next 11 points to end the half with a 21-16 lead.

"(It was) 16-10 the score, 16-10 rebounds and then all of the sudden the next 8 minutes it's probably 15-(0) or something," Fanning-Otis said. "I think that rebounding and turnovers definitely defined us in this basketball game."

Senior Ashley Brown gave the Lady Bulldogs a big boost early in the first half but was forced to head to the bench midway through the half with two fouls.

"We had a couple of people with two fouls, but Brown was one that had given us some energy as far as some boards and scored some points," Fanning-Otis said. "She went to the bench. We had a lot of different rotations in the first half and then based on what we saw we narrowed that down in the second half. We just lost the momentum; (Arkansas) picked it up. They kept crashing boards."

The second half was not any better for the Lady Bulldogs. They shot 24 percent from the field versus 26.9 percent in the first half.

"We just didn't do the little things," Johnson said. "We came back and won the last game, but we are still doing stuff that hurts us. We didn't have the energy to come back and win."

MSU gave itself a chance with its defensive play. The Lady Razorbacks shot only 30.8 percent from the field for the game.

"We warned our team at the beginning that Mississippi State was going to come out and guard us hard, pressure us, and try to turn us over," Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. "We didn't deal with it very well early on, but we came out in the second half and played solid basketball. I thought their defense was outstanding in the first half. We didn't turn the ball over in the second half. We made our free throws, and that's how we won the basketball game."

The Lady Bulldogs got within four points midway through the second half at 34-30 after a basket by Johnson and a free throw by senior Catina Bett, but that was as close as MSU got.

Arkansas was led by C'Eira Ricketts with 14 points. Ashley Daniels added 10 points. The Lady Razorbacks improved their records to 15-5 overall and 4-4 in Southeastern Conference play.

Martha Alwal and Porsha Porter each had seven points to lead MSU. The Lady Bulldogs fell to 13-7 overall and 3-4 in the SEC. They will travel to South Carolina Sunday for a 1 p.m. tip.

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