STRONG SECOND-HALF DEFENSE CARRIES MSU PAST DEVILETTES
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Mississippi State women’s basketball team found reasons to be thankful Wednesday afternoon.
freshman Martha Alwal’s third double-double of the season and a
season-high 18 points from senior Porsha Porter, the Lady Bulldogs
ushered in Thanksgiving weekend on campus by putting away a pesky
Mississippi Valley State squad 64-47 at the Humphrey Coliseum.
the victory, MSU improved to 4-1, including a perfect 4-0 at home this
season. MVSU dropped to 1-3. The Lady Bulldogs have won 13-straight in
the series and have now won 14 of 16 all-time career meetings with the
Alwal had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and
she finished two blocks shy of a triple-double. Diamber Johnson joined
Alwal and Porter in double figures with 10 points, her 13th-straight
game scoring double figures.
“From a points standpoint, I
was just in the right place at the right time,” Alwal said. “We had
some missed shots and I was fortunate enough to be in a position to get
some rebounds and put some shots back in.
“Overall, it was
not one of my better efforts. I feel like I could have played with more
heart, instead of some times going through the motions.”
teams appeared sluggish throughout play. Still, MSU scored the game’s
first four points, built an early 14-3 lead and never trailed in the
MVSU hung tough, thanks to brilliant outside
shooting. The Delta Devilettes hit seven 3-point baskets in the first
half, including four from De’Kisha Fondon. The long-range shooting
allowed the guests to close out the half with only a 33-31 deficit.
need to do a better job of taking care of the basketball,” MSU head
coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. “For the first time this year, our shot
selection was not at its best. We did a good job of sharing the
basketball but it did not end in the type of shots we need to take
consistently on the offensive end.”
While the Lady
Bulldogs strived for better offensive production, the defense took over
the contest. After closing within 51-47, MVSU did not score over the
final six minutes, seven seconds. State held the Devilettes to
11.4-percent shooting over the game’s final 20 minutes.
the second half, I was trying to bring more energy to the team,” Porter
said. “Sometimes, we were struggling to play with intensity. We should
not have allowed them to score 47 points. My job was to keep everybody
focused and to get everybody playing harder.
“My teammates and coaches told me I was able to get that done.”
built an early 7-3 lead on a 3-point play by Alwal. Back-to-back
baskets by Catina Bett extended the advantage to 14-3. MVSU then closed
within 19-15 with four straight free throws by Brittany Lakes.
would later cut the deficit to 24-23 before the Maroon and White scored
six-straight points. A layup by Porter ran the MSU advantage to 30-23
before MVSU ended the half with an 8-3 run to create the 33-31 halftime
“Our defensive effort was not good in the first
half,” Fanning-Otis said. “We were losing players and not forcing them
to take difficult shots. Our focus and intensity was much better in the
MSU opened the second half with a 9-3 run
for a 42-34 lead. The lead would later grow to 10 at 51-41 on two free
throws by Ashley Brown with 9:36 left in regulation.
MVSU hung tough. The Delta Devilettes scored the game’s next six points
to close within 51-47 with 6:07 left. From there, the Lady Bulldogs’
defensive pressure intensified and MVSU missed its final 11 shots of
For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 24 of 70
shots from the field (34.3 percent), 5 of 19 shots from 3-point range
(26.3 percent) and 11 of 17 shots from the foul line (64.7 percent).
The Delta Devilettes hit 13 of 64 shots from the field (20.3 percent),
8 of 28 shots from 3-point range (28.6 percent) and 13 of 16 shots from
the foul line (81.3 percent).
MSU held a 54-46 rebounding
advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had 14 assists and 18 turnovers, while the
Delta Devilettes had nine assists and 21 turnovers.
MVSU was led by Fondon with 14 points (two in the second half) and Olivia Kennedy with 10 points.
MSU, Brown added 10 rebounds, while Alwal had eight blocked shots. For
the season, the true freshman now has a Southeastern Conference-best 25