January 24, 2011 8:56:00 AM
ATHENS, Ga. -- The No. 24 University of Georgia women''s basketball team used a 13-0 run midway through the first half to get early separation en route to a 78-58 victory against Mississippi State on Sunday in a Southeastern Conference game at Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia (16-3, 6-0 SEC), which won its seventh game in a row, remains one of two unbeaten teams in league play. MSU fell to 8-10 and 0-6 with a seventh-straight defeat.
UGA also snapped a two-game losing streak in the series.
Mississippi State Head Coach Sharon Fanning-Otis
"I felt we continued to play and learn like a basketball team," MSU coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. "Georgia is a really good team. When we''re faced with a team that goes on a run and we make a lot of fouls, we have to play tougher. Hopefully we can step up and learn from this and play better in the future."
For a third straight contest, MSU didn''t have answers on offense. It has had a scoreless stretch of seven or more minutes in each of those contests.
After scoring the first five points of the game, MSU still was within striking distance at 14-13. From there, the hosts scored the game''s next 13 points, as MSU went 7 minutes, 30 seconds without scoring.
A layup by MSU''s Porsha Porter stopped that run, bringing MSU within 27-15 with 2:26 left in the half.
"I''m pleased with the way we continued to play," Fanning-Otis said. "There are 11 new faces on this team trying to learn each other and because of that we aren''t always in the right spots at the right time, but as we continue to fight harder and feel more confident in ourselves we''ll find a way to get better as a team."
Georgia ended the opening half on a 9-3 run to take a 40-20 halftime lead.
The victory secured the 32nd consecutive winning season for the Lady Bulldogs under Andy Landers. Landers'' stretch of winning seasons is the second-longest ever among Division I women''s basketball coaches.
"I was impressed with the defensive effort and our ability to get our fingers on some balls, to turn them over and to rebound," Landers said. "Those are things we thought we could do and wanted to do. Today, Ronika Ransford (career-high 12 points) stepped up, and I sensed she was getting close to being able to deliver what she delivered today. She stepped in and played outstanding offense, defense, transition and really made a lot of nice plays."
The win also moves Landers within two wins of his 850th career victory as a collegiate head coach.
The teams traded baskets for the opening stages of the game''s final half. A layup by Catina Bett brought MSU within 54-30 with 12:09 left.
This time, MSU went better than three minutes without scoring. The homestanding Bulldogs turned up the defensive pressure as a series of transition baskets sparked a 10-0 run. Georgia built a 64-30 advantage with 9:11 left in the contest.
Down 70-35, MSU pieced together a 14-4 run but got no closer than the final deficit the remainder of the way.
Mary Kathryn Govero led MSU with 17 points, while Diamber Johnson added 10 points. Ashley Brown had nine points and 10 rebounds.
Georgia received a game-high 17 points from Anne Marie Armstrong. Porsha Phillips had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Khaalidah Miller added 13 points.
MSU will play at No. 5 Tennessee at 6 p.m. Thursday night (CSS). It will play host to Florida at 1 p.m. Sunday.
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