MOBILE, Ala. - Mississippi State led from start to finish Tuesday night, as the Lady Bulldogs held off South Alabama 56-43 in a women’s basketball game played at the Mitchell Center.
The Lady Bulldogs (2-1) scored the first six points of the game and were never headed. Behind 19 points from Mary Kathryn Govero and the season’s best defensive effort, the Lady Bulldogs extended a five-point halftime advantage and were rarely threatened in the final 20 minutes.
“We shot right at 50 percent for both halves,“ MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. “Team chemistry was a lot better tonight and that got us better shots. Defensively, we played a great game. We had better shot selection and we had some really good defensive stops, adding up to a big road win.”
Govero scored back-to-back baskets to open the offensive attack. A Porsha Porter layup ran the advantage to 6-0. USA answered right back with back-to-back treys from Brittney Rutledge.
That would be the final tie in the contest as the Maroon and White scored the next nine points of the game. Already the MSU defense was beginning to frame the victory. USA went more than seven minutes before connecting for its next made field goal.
USA (2-2) closed within 19-18 before back-to-back baskets by Ashley Brown allowed the Lady Bulldogs to ease back out to a five-point lead. The same push was held at halftime, as the guests led 27-22.
The Lady Bulldogs scored the first five points of the final half and USA never got closer than six points. After the Jaguars closed within 47-41, Govero nailed the final of her three 3-point baskets to help seal out the win.
For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 25 of 52 shots from the field (48.1 percent), 5 of 9 shots from 3-point range (55.6 percent) and 1 of 4 shots from the foul line (25.0 percent). The Jaguars hit 16 of 55 shots from the field (29.1 percent), 4 of 14 shots from 3-point range (28.6 percent) and 7 of 16 shots from the foul line (43.8 percent).
The Lady Bulldogs held a 42-29 rebounding advantage. MSU had nine assists and 24 turnovers, while USA had 10 assists and 17 turnovers.
Brown followed Govero in the scoring column with 14 points. Brown and teammate Judith Tabala, each had a game-high nine rebounds.
Christian Shelter paced USA with 11 points, while Taylor Ammons followed with 10 points.
The Lady Bulldogs host Arkansas-Pine
Bluff at 2 p.m. Sunday. For MSU, it is their first home game since a
season-opening 87-53 win over South Carolina-Upstate on Nov.