The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Lady hoopsters return, face ranked conference foes

    The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (11-5 overall, 2-1 in SEC) opened its 2010 SEC schedule with big wins at Auburn and here against No. 16 Vanderbilt, building to a showdown at the Hump with No. 4 Tennessee, who has never lost to an MSU team in 30 games.
    Make that 31.
    State hit a 6-foot-plus wall on Sunday, also known as the Tennessee defense. The Lady Vols held the Dawgs to their lowest total this season while cruising to a 75-48 win.
    In front of the third largest crowd ever for an MSU women’s basketball game, State fell into a hole early as Tennessee’s overwhelming size left the Lady Dawgs reeling, and shots they did take refused to fall. For the game, MSU shot only 28 percent from the field, their lowest of the 2010 season, and 26 percent from outside the arc. Most of the treys came late in the game, long after the outcome was decided, on shots by senior guard Alexis Rack with 19 points and junior forward Mary Kathryn Govero who scored 13.
    MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said she was very dissatisfied in her players relative to their work ethic.
    “I’m just totally disappointed in our effort,” she said. “We surely didn’t do our job today, but hopefully we’ll learn from this and move on and learn how much effort we have to have to win any game in this league, not just a game against Tennessee.”
    Govero echoed the coach’s thoughts.
    “We came in with an expectation for ourselves,” she said. “We expected to compete and win this game, and it is very disappointing to come out not with just a loss, but the way we lost. We didn’t play to the potential that we have.”
    Against Vandy on Thursday, the story began the same, but had a much different outcome. State started steady on offense, but were outmatched in the paint on defense as the Lady Commodores answered each MSU score with one layup after another. When State’s shooters went cold, Vandy blew past to build a 34-19 lead with 4:12 left in the half.
    “They were kicking us, those first few minutes,” Fanning-Otis said. “Somehow we managed to toughen up. The last 10 possessions of the first half, they only scored three times and that was huge from our standpoint.”
    State’s shooters found their groove as well, led by Rack who finished with 31 points, and by the end of the half had cut the deficit to only three.
    “We finished the half like we should have started it,” she said.
    The Dawgs remained hot throughout the second half and once they passed Vandy, never looked back. MSU went on to win comfortably, 90-76.
    Vandy head coach Melanie Balcomb said her team could not handle the MSU offensive explosion.
    “When they turned it up, we didn’t react to it well,” she said. “Having the lead that we had, part of that was that they hadn’t turned it up yet. We relaxed, and you can’t relax on this team.”
    In the conference opener at Auburn on Jan. 3, Govero paced the team with 22 points, en route to a 73-58 win.
    Over the holidays, the Lady Dawgs traveled to the Virgin Islands to play in the Paradise Jam tournament, where they dropped all three contests, but then went 5-1 in December.
    Fanning-Otis said those holiday games helped the staff and players evaluate their weaknesses.
    “I hope that every game we play we learn something from,” she said. “Losses make you tougher, so hopefully we learned some of those lessons, and that’s helped us win some games down the stretch.”

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover

    Comments (0)

    All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Activate Search
    The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
    Lady hoopsters return, face ranked conference foes