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Lady Bulldogs seek another road win

January 29, 2012

MSU women's coach Sharon Fanning-Otis. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

There has been one constant during a basketball season of ups and downs for the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs.

For the most part, MSU has played well on the road.

The Lady Bulldogs own a 4-4 overall record in games played on the road or neutral sites this season, but have won two out of three games in the Southeastern Conference away from Starkville.

Mississippi State has beaten Alabama 66-61 in Tuscaloosa and Ole Miss 51-46 in Oxford, but suffered a lopsided 88-40 defeat to ranked Kentucky in Lexington.

The Lady Bulldogs face another ranked opponent on the road today when they play the South Carolina Lady Gamecocks. The tip is set for 1 p.m. in Columbia, S.C.

MSU women's coach Sharon Fanning-Otis hopes her team can regain an edge when competing away from Humphrey Coliseum, but understands this is still the SEC.

"If you go into South Carolina, you've got to find a way to win on the road," Fanning-Otis said. "They are a very talented basketball team that knows how to win. It's the same scouting report as yo go down the league. People can score outside; they score inside; they run the floor; they are aggressive and they are good athletes so we have to play hard."

The Lady Gamecocks, who have won their last two games against Vanderbilt and Ole Miss, sport records of 16-5 overall and 5-3 in the league.

South Carolina's balanced scoring attack is led by senior Markeshia Grant, who averages 10.1 per game.

Fanning-Otis said the Lady Gamecocks have the qualities that make many SEC squads strong.

"They are up and down, athletic, aggressive and inside-outside." Fanning-Otis said. "I think that you see a lot of situations where teams are pretty athletic, shooting percentages are a little bit lower and scores are a little bit lower, but it is a team that can just punch through that and find a way to win."

With records of 13-7 overall and 3-4 in the SEC, the Lady Bulldogs know they can't lose to many games and remain in a position to challenge for the upper half of the conference standings.

"This is where you have to grind," Fanning-Otis said. "This is where you have to get after it. This is where you have to play hard. You can't lose focus."

Mississippi State is led by senior guards Diamber Johnson and Porsha Porter. Johnson averages 17.2 points per game and Porter scores 13.4 points per outing.

They join a starting lineup for MSU that has Kendra Grant at guard, Martha Alwal at forward and Catina Bett at center.

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