STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State shot a season-best 51.7 percent from the floor, as the Lady Bulldogs rolled past Arkansas-Pine Bluff 74-31 in a women’s basketball game played Sunday afternoon at the Humphrey Coliseum.
Defensively, the Lady Bulldogs held the Lions to the lowest point total allowed since Central Florida was held to 30 points during the 2002-03 season.
“Every win is great,” MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. “We are getting better and getting more consistent. Anytime you hold an opponent under 20 percent shooting, you have played with great defensive pressure.”
The Lady Bulldogs scored the game’s first five points and never trailed in the contest. A Mary Kathryn Govero 3-point basket ran the advantage to 11-2. The Lions closed within 15-12 before a 16-2 run removed all doubt from the contest.
MSU hit five 3-point baskets, shot 43.8 percent from the field
and took a commanding 35-16 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the second half, the Lady Bulldogs turned up the defensive pressure and were never headed. The hosts forced 26 turnovers - the most by an MSU opponent on the young campaign.
MSU opened the second half on an 18-4 run, opening up a 54-19 advantage with 11:13 left in the contest. The lead topped the 40-point mark for the first time at 63-23 with 7:14 remaining.
The largest margin of the contest was the final margin.
“We shot better than 50 percent from the floor and those are good numbers,” Fanning-Otis said. “The question is now how can we get into transition more. If you are shooting as we did, you have to find a way to get more opportunities. Obviously, we also need to improve the execution in our half-court offense.”
For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 31 of 60 shots from the field (51.7 percent), 9 of 19 shots from 3-point range (47.4 percent) and 3 of 7 shots from the foul line (42.9 percent). The Lions hit 9 of 48 shots from the field (18.8 percent), 4 of 13 shots from 3-point range (30.8 percent) and 9 of 15 shots from the foul line (60.0 percent).
The Lady Bulldogs held a 43-33 rebounding advantage. MSU had 19 assists and 16 turnovers, while UAPB had four assists and 26 turnovers.
Govero paced the offensive attack with 23 points, including a 9-of-12 night floor, with five 3-point baskets. Diamber Johnson added 17 points and seven assists. Also in double figures were Ashley Brown with 12 points and Danielle Rector with 11 points. Brown posted a double-double with game-high 15 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end.
LaQuisha Slaton paced UAPB with 10 points. Jasmine Abrams added a team-high eight rebounds for the Lions.
The Lady Bulldogs host Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. Wednesday and North Texas at 1 p.m. Saturday.