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State Women Down Jaguars, 63-47; Fanning-Otis Posts Win #600

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The Lady Bulldogs and Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin congratulate Sharon Fanning-Otis for her 600th career win Wednesday night.
Photo Courtesy of Bill Simmonds

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State women's basketball coach Sharon Fanning-Otis joined some elite company Wednesday night.

Fanning-Otis recorded career victory No. 600 as the Lady Bulldogs won their third straight with a 63-47 victory over South Alabama at Humphrey Coliseum.

"Any milestone is always special," Fanning-Otis said. "It is a reflection of the young ladies, the staff and the fans. I haven't scored a point in my coaching career. It is a credit to the players for the way they have represented this program.

"Still, it is only one win and I want it to carry over to the next one."

Fanning-Otis becomes one of 14 active Division I coaches with 600 or more victories. A former head coach at both the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and the University of Kentucky, Fanning-Otis is now 600-445 in her 36 seasons as a Division I head coach.

In her 17th season at MSU, Fanning-Otis has posted a 273-217 record. Fanning-Otis has led the Lady Bulldogs to 11 postseason appearances, including the only six NCAA appearances in the program's history.

"When you achieve records such as this, it is an important day," Fanning-Otis said. "To be able to do that with such a wonderful group of young ladies is what makes this really special. Hopefully, there will be many, many more wins this season."

The Lady Bulldogs (6-1) were rarely threatened after erasing an early 7-2 deficit. MSU scored the game's next 19 points, while holding South Alabama (5-2) scoreless for 9 minutes, 26 seconds.

"We were really doing a good job of getting to the paint," MSU senior Diamber Johnson said. "We pretty much lived in the paint in the first half. Our shots were falling and we were rebounding better. It was a really good stretch there and gave us the separation we needed for the rest of the game."

The Lady Bulldogs shot only hit 1-of-11 3-point shots in the opening half but did shoot 40 percent overall, while building a 29-17 halftime advantage. Defensively, MSU held South Alabama to 14.7 percent shooting in the opening half, as the Lady Jaguars at one time missed 13 straight shots and finished 5-of-34 for the half.

South Alabama closed within 36-30 on a 3-point basket by Jennifer Johnson with 14:19 left in regulation. The hosts tacked on the next six points to reestablish a 42-30 lead with 11:34 left.

The lead would grow to 14 before South Alabama took advantage of heavy foul trouble on MSU to close within eight on two different occasions. Strong free throw shooting and a reemerged inside presence allowed the Maroon and White to close out a third straight win against the Lady Jaguars.

In postgame ceremonies, Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin presented Fanning-Otis with game ball, while the Lady Bulldog Booster Club also presented a plaque.

"It was a great to be a part of this win," Johnson said. "Since I have been here four years, I feel pleased to have played such a big part in the win. This is a special night for her. Hopefully, it is just one more win and we can keep this thing going."

For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 23 of 52 shots from the field (44.2 percent), 2 of 13 shots from 3-point range (15.4 percent) and 15 of 22 shots from the foul line (68.2 percent). The Lady Jaguars hit 14 of 65 shots from the field (21.5 percent), 4 of 26 shots from 3-point range (15.4 percent) and 15 of 24 shots from the foul line (62.5 percent).

MSU held a 46-40 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had five assists and 17 turnovers, while the Lady Jaguars had seven assists and 13 turnovers.

Johnson paced the Lady Bulldogs with 22 points, while Porsha Porter and Catina Bett each added 11 points. Porter and Bett were both slowed by foul trouble with each player finishing with four fouls. Bett had a team-high eight rebounds and three blocked shots, while Johnson had three assists.

South Alabama received 16 points from Mansa El and 13 points from Sandra Peterson.

The Lady Bulldogs host Tulane at 2 p.m. Sunday.

 



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