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

MSU women’s basketball falls to Kentucky Wildcats

Haylee Morman

Thursday evening, the Mississippi State University women’s basketball team (20-7, 7-6 SEC) skid to their third consecutive loss in Southeastern Conference play against the University of Kentucky (11-16, 4-9 SEC), 78-68.

Despite having numerous leads and an early nine-point fourth-quarter lead, the Bulldogs ran out of gas as Kentucky outscored them 24-5 in the fourth quarter to deny them their win.

After the game, Bulldogs head coach Sam Purcell credited Kentucky for their efforts.

“First and foremost, give credit to Kentucky, third quarter there where we got this place rocking 29 to 19, and then for them to turn around and match it with a 24 to 5 run in the fourth quarter obviously is a dagger,” Purcell said.

Returning home from an overtime defeat of the University of Mississippi, the Bulldogs yearned to add another conference win. Kentucky, on the other hand, was seeking out their first SEC road win of the season.

Early in the first quarter, Mississippi State was strong on the offensive glass, scoring three of their first four shots off second-chance opportunities.

The Kentucky offense had a slow start but eventually found some speed as they brought the score to 16-11 at the media timeout. After the timeout, MSU went on a run to push out ahead 21-14, but Kentucky remained calm, delivering a 12-1 run in the last 2:07 of the quarter to take their first lead of the night.

For the first three and a half minutes of the second quarter, the Bulldogs’ offense was stagnant, only scoring one free throw, as Kentucky’s defense harped on their late first-quarter success. Regardless of their defensive success, the Wildcats’ offense struggled to knock down shots against the Bulldogs’ defense.

With 4:49 left, Lauren Park-Lane hit a jump shot that ended the Bulldog’s offensive drought, bringing the game to 33-24.

The Bulldogs dialed back in the game and went on an 8-2 run to draw Kentucky’s lead as halftime arrived.

Opening the second half, MSU picked up where they left off, going on a 9-0 run and retaking the lead in the first three minutes. However, UK refused to go down without a fight and shortened MSU’s lead to 48-45 with 4:49 remaining in the third.

Haylee Morman

Even with Kentucky in close range, Mississippi State kept their offensive rhythm alive with help from Jessika Carter, who scored 10 of MSU’s 29 points in the third quarter.

Entering the fourth quarter, MSU led 63-54 and looked to close out the final ten minutes like they had in the third. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs offense gave up seven turnovers in the last five and a half minutes of the game while Kentucky went on a 19-0 run to take the win.

Purcell talked about the Bulldogs’ turnover problems being rooted in poor shooting from the outside.

“I think us not shooting it well from the outside and then us trying to be committed to [Jessika Carter], I mean for the first 20 [points] and 20 [rebounds] since 2019 is special. We knew we had the hot hand, and we weren’t making outside shots, so we went to a lot of situations where we could try to get her the ball, and I think some of those turnovers happened like they did at the end because of that – our commitment to her,” Purcell said. “She just laid it all out there… that’s why she’s one of the best post players in the country.”

With the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament looming, the Bulldogs desperately need to find ways to close out the last quarter and get back in the winning column.

Purcell spoke about the tournament and emphasized his team needs to get healthy and focus on their next game.

“I can’t even go there,” Purcell said. “We’ve just got to focus on one game, you know. Alabama’s really good it’s a huge net opportunity, and then, we’ve got to funnel this energy, and most importantly, we’ve got to get healthy.”

The Bulldogs travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to take on the University of Alabama (20-8, 7-6 SEC) Sunday at 4 p.m. The game will be streamed on SEC Network.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Reflector

Your donation will support the student journalists of Mississippi State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Reflector

Comments (0)

All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

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