Nov. 16, 2012
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Louisiana Tech outshot, outrebounded and for the most part outplayed Mississippi State on Friday night, but in the end the Bulldogs turned two dozen Lady Techster turnovers into a victory as State prevailed 57-55 before 1,420 fans at Humphrey Coliseum.
Tech (0-3) used it best 20 minutes of the season to build a 33-23 halftime lead but then faltered over the final half as the Lady Techsters committed 23 turnovers, including five in the final five minutes of play in a tight game.
After a Brittany Lewis layup with 1:24 to play tied the game at 55-55, Mississippi State guard Darriel Gaynor hit the eventual game-winner with the shot clock about to expire as her 17-footer over the outstretched arms of Jelena Vucinic gave the Bulldogs a two-point advantage with 55 seconds to play.
On Tech's ensuing possession, sophomore guard Kelia Shelton - playing in her first game at Tech - was whistled for a charge, giving the ball back to Miss State. Tech had one final chance but Lewis' off-balance 25-footer was off the mark as the horn sounded.
Tech outshot Mississippi State 42 percent to 36 percent, outrebounded the Bulldogs 44-33 and took five more free throws, but the Bulldogs outscored the Lady Techsters 20-7 on points off of turnovers.
The second half collapse ruined what was a solid opening 20 minutes of play for the Lady Techsters. Tech, who was without the services of its second leading scorer Lulu Perry, shot 50 percent from the field and outrebounded State 26-15 in the first half in building a 33-22 halftime lead.
Tech led for the majority of the first half. After a Gaynor three-pointer with 4:16 to play in the stanza brought State to within 25-23, the Lady Techsters used an 8-0 run to close the half.
Tech pushed the advantage out to 37-25 early in the second half before MSU guard Kendra Grant got hot, scoring 14 of her game-high 20 points after the break. Grant's layup with 8:33 to play tied the game at 46 and then her jumper one minute later gave Mississippi State its first lead since 5-3.
Tech returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Central Arkansas at 7 p.m.