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Turnovers hurt MSU women during loss

January 15, 2012

It certainly wasn't what the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs needed against the 19th-ranked team in the country.

Georgia forced MSU to commit 22 turnovers and the visiting Lady Bulldogs scored 29 points off those miscues.

That situation was too much for Mississippi State to overcome as Georgia won a 68-51 Southeastern Conference decision Sunday at Humphrey Coliseum.

"They really didn't beat us, but we beat ourselves," MSU senior guard Porsha Porter said. "They just fed off those turnovers. We can play with any team in this conference, but we've got to grow and limit the turnovers. We've just got to be more patient."

Georgia improved its records to 15-3 overall and 4-1 in the conference, while State fell to 11-6 overall and 1-3 in the league.

Mississippi State hit 46 percent from the field (23-of-50), which was better than Georgia's 42.3 percent (30-of-71), but it wasn't enough to overcome the damage of the turnovers.

"The team that makes fewer mistakes, wins more games and the team that plays through mistakes is going to win more games," MSU women's coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. "It's important that we do that and get better at it."

Georgia began each half strong by scoring the first five points.

In the first half, Georgia jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Catina Bett provided the first points for Mississippi State.

MSU freshman Kendra Grant hit a shot with 18:08 remaining in the game to end Georgia's 5-0 run to start the second 20 minutes.

"They were just more the aggressor," MSU senior point guard Diamber Johnson said. "As a whole, they came in, had their game plan and focused on that. They came in and did what they had to do to win."

Johnson became the 21st player in MSU history to reach 900 career points, but it took her a while to get there.

After not scoring in the first half, Johnson didn't score her first points until the 8:38 mark of the second half. She got all 10 of her points in the second half.

Johnson said her slow start offensively was due to trying to get more people involved in the first half.

"If I'm not feeling it, I'm going to find people open," said Johnson, who averaged 17.6 points per game to lead the SEC coming into the game. "I was trying to dish it off and get people easy shots. I felt like that's what I was doing. I'm not going to force anything if I'm not feeling it."

Porter led State with 12 points, while Grant joined Johnson with 10 points. Grant recorded back-to-back double digit scoring games for the first time in her career.

Freshman Martha Alwal had 11 rebounds and four blocked shots for MSU. She passed Cara Stokes for third all-time on the school's single season blocked shots list with 48. It's the highest single-season total for an underclassman in maroon and white.

Mississippi State tries for its second-straight road victory in the conference on Thursday when they meet rival Ole Miss in Oxford.

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