STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State scored 33 points off 27 Southern Miss turnovers in defeating the Lady Eagles, 85-52, Wednesday night.
Southern Miss drops to 3-4 on the season while State snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 5-3.
"I thought the biggest key for us tonight was to get off to a good start," Coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. "We got to a good start and I thought we played with a lot of intensity. We executed defensively and offensively to start the game. Then we hit a lull and we turned the ball over. You have to give Mississippi State credit. They just cranked up their defense and we did not handle that very well. In the end, the effort was there in the first half, but it boils down to leadership. We don't have someone on the team that has decided to step and take that role."
Pauline Love led Southern Miss with 14 points and 10 rebounds followed by Robin Murphy with 12 points.
The Bulldogs finished the game shooting 55.2 percent from the field, including 62.1 percent in the second half.
State got on the scoreboard only three seconds into the game when Rack connected on two free throws. Southern Miss answered with a basket to tie the game. After the Lady Eagles tied the score again at 4-4, State got back-to-back baskets to go up four and eventually pushing the lead to six, 14-8, before Southern Miss used a 7-0 run over a three-minute span to take its first lead of the game, 15-14.
For the next five minutes the two teams battled back-and-forth. The score was tied for times during that time with the last coming at 21-21 at the 7:43 mark. State then outscored Southern Miss 11-0 in a three-minute span, taking a double digit lead at 32-21. Murphy ended the State run with two free throws before the Bulldogs pushed their lead back to 13 before The Lady Eagles cut the lead to eight, 28-36 on a Danielle Johnson three-pointer. State led 38-28 at the half.
The Lady Eagles opened the second half scoring the first two points to get within eight, 38-30. State then scored USM, 10-1, to extend its lead to 17 points, 48-31. Southern Miss was able to cut the lead to 13 on two occasions with the last coming at the 11:23 mark, 52-39.
State placed four players in double figures led by Alexis Rack and Mary Kathryn Govero with 21 points apiece, Armelie Lumanu had 16 and Tysheka Grimes added 12.
Southern Miss returns to action on Friday when the Lady Eagles host Alcorn State at 7 p.m.