Mississippi State women's basketball coach Sharon Fanning-Otis declared Sunday's 65-55 victory over the Ole Miss Lady Rebels as a good team win.
Senior Lady Bulldog Mary Kathryn Govero wouldn't have wanted it any other way in her last appearance at Humphrey Coliseum.
Even though Govero was the only senior on the MSU roster and was recognized prior to tipoff, it was still all about being a team-player.
Govero may have scored a team-high 18 points, but got plenty of junior guard Diamber Johnson (16 points, 10 assists) and junior forward Ashley Brown (eight points, 10 rebounds).
"I was confident, but a lot of it was having my teammates out there," Govero said. "They were playing hard and knocking down shots. (Brown) was fighting for rebounds on the inside and gave us some second chances. (Teammates) provided some open shots for me and I just tried to hold up my end of the deal and knocked down the shots. It was definitely a team effort. We ended up the regular season like we wanted."
A win against their biggest rival in the final regular season game and with all-black uniforms made for a special day for the Lady Bulldogs.
Govero finished with a 6-2 record during her four-year career against Ole Miss.
"I just tried to look at it as another game, but playing Ole Miss is exciting and fact it's the last game (at home)," Govero said. "It will hit me later when I realize I don't have another game here. We got a win against an in-state rival. It's sweet."
Govero checked out of the game with 16.2 seconds remaining and Fanning-Otis greeted her with a big bear hug. Govero then proceeded down the bench for several more hugs.
"She's a real team player and has grown in terms of her leadership," Fanning-Otis said. "It's very special and fitting that she closes it out with a win.
"When you have a person like that who has given so much, it makes you tear up in a way to think about it because they love her."
MSU weathered the early storm as Ole Miss came out hot from the field by hitting its first nine shots and took an early 23-16 lead. The Lady Rebels shot 60 percent (12 of 20) from the field in the first half.
The Lady Bulldogs hit seven three-point field goals in the first half as a team to keep Ole Miss from establishing a huge lead.
A three-point field goal by Danielle Rector gave MSU a 26-25 advantage with 7:25 remaining in the first half.
Darriel Gaynor followed Rector's three-pointer with one of her own and Johnson sank a couple of free throws to cap MSU's first-half scoring, but Ole Miss got a three-pointer by Shea Nelson and a basket by Courtney Marbra to close the gap to 31-30 at halftime.
After a basket by Govero brought MSU to within 40-39, her three-pointer with 13:06 remaining in the game helped the Lady Bulldogs take the lead at 42-40.
Govero hit again from long range at the 9:30 mark to increase the margin to 52-43.
Mississippi State ended up out-scoring Ole Miss in both halves with the difference being 34-25 in the second half.
"This is one of the first games we've had two halves together without the lull," Govero said. "Everybody went into the game with confidence. The big thing is believing that before the game starts you are going out there to do what you need to do to get the win and I think we've done that the last couple of games."
The Lady Bulldogs, who improved to 12-16 overall and 4-12 in the Southeastern Conference, take a two-game winning streak into next week's conference tournament in Nashville, Tenn. As the 11th seed, MSU is scheduled to take on Auburn Thursday at 9 p.m.