January 31, 2014 10:38:41 AM
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Mississippi State women's basketball team couldn't make a halftime lead stand up Thursday night, falling on the road to No. 14 LSU 65-56 in a Southeastern Conference game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
After shuffling travel plans on multiple occasions in a 24-hour period, MSU arrived in Louisiana about seven hours from tip. Still, the Bulldogs competed hard for 40 minutes before seeing their upset bid go awry down the stretch of the second half.
"I am proud of my team today," MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. "It has been a difficult day for them. I am proud of the passion they played with against a top-15 team. LSU is awfully good. They are big and physical. In the second half, LSU answered the bell."
With the victory, LSU improved to 17-4 and 6-2 in league play, while MSU fell to 15-7 and 2-6.
In the opening half, MSU controlled the tempo and held LSU o eight total field goals, including only one from 3-point range. The teams played an entertaining and competitive first 20 minutes, with both squads holding the upper hand on defense. After four early ties, LSU stretched its lead to 17-10. Behind the strong play of Savannah Carter and Katia May, the Bulldogs rallied. May made a 3-pointer with 5 minutes, 13 seconds left before halftime to give MSU a 21-19 lead. LSU made two field goals in the final 8:14 of the opening half. The Bulldogs ended the half on a 16-4 run to take a 26-21 halftime lead.
"We held them to 21 points defensively in the first half," Schaefer said. "They doubled that in the second half. We knew it was coming. They attacked us inside and we had too many turnovers. We were playing a great team. It's hard to go on the road and to do it the way we did it, but I thought we played with passion and energy. We had a purpose but ran into a good team in the second half.
In the second half, LSU's Theresa Plaisance, Raigyne Moncrief, and Shanece McKinney took the over. McKinney hit all seven shots from the field and finished with a game-high 19 points. Moncrief added 17 points. Jeanne Kenney added 13, while Plaisance had 12.
LSU took the lead for good, 33-31, when McKinney scored on a putback with 14:14 remaining. The Tigers used a 13-2 run to push the lead to 48-36 with 8:23 to go.
The Bulldogs closed to 58-54 on a Dominique Dillingham 3-pointer with 2:37 left, but it wasn't able to get any closer.
MSU was 17 of 49 from the field (34.7 percent), 5 of 20 from 3-point range (25.0), and 17 of 22 from the free throw line (77.3). LSU was 25 of 48 from the field (52.1), 2 of 6 from 3-point range (33.3), and 13 of 17 from the free throw line (76.5).
MSU held a 32-28 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 11 assists and 20 turnovers, while the Tigers had 14 assists and 19 turnovers. In the second half, LSU shot 65.4 percent from the field.
May had 12 points for MSU.
MSU will play host to Georgia at 2 p.m. Sunday (CSS).