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MSU women beat Ole Miss in OT

February 12, 2012

All the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs needed on Sunday afternoon was to work a little overtime.

After struggling for 40 minutes against their rival Ole Miss Lady Rebels, the Lady Bulldogs used 5 extra minutes effectively and won a 53-50 decision at Humphrey Coliseum.

MSU ended a five-game losing streak despite shooting 29.7 percent (22 of 74) from the field and being out-rebounded 62-48.

"We hung in there and found a way to win the ballgame," Lady Bulldog coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. "Everybody stepped up and played exceptionally hard, stayed focus and found ways to get it done."

MSU, which improved to 14-11 overall and 4-8 in the Southeastern Conference, was able to keep the game close down the stretch and a 3-point shot by Diamber Johnson was good with 5 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.

It was the only shot made by the Lady Bulldogs from long range in 11 attempts for the game.

Johnson herself was experiencing a tough outing, hitting only 3 of 17 shots from the field, but hit a big one when it counted. She used two screens to get wide open for the game-tying play.

"That's what a great player like Diamber Johnson can do," Ole Miss coach Renee Ladner said. "She got a look and made a great play."

Porsha Porter, another senior guard for the Lady Bulldogs, was able to get a steal with 2 seconds showing on the clock and took a shot, but it fell off the mark.

Even though she failed to convert, Porter was confident MSU could make something happen in overtime.

The Lady Bulldogs outscored the Lady Rebels 10-7 in the extra frame for the difference.

"In overtime, we knew it was ours," Porter said. "We just had to stay focused, go possession by possession and get defensive stops. That's what we did. We knew somebody had to stop somebody."

Porter scored six of her game-high 18 points in overtime. Her successful jumper with 1:48 left in the game gave MSU a 49-45 lead and it held on for the victory.

Valencia McFarland hit one out of two free throws for Ole Miss to close the margin to 51-50 and Johnson rebounded McFarland's miss.

Porter was fouled with 4 seconds showing on the clock and she hit a pair of free throws to provide the final margin.

In a first half that saw five lead changes and four ties, neither team could seem to get the upperhand.

The Lady Bulldogs had a two-point lead with 17:16 remaining in the first half, while the Lady Rebels were up by five points with 3:18 left and had a 24-23 advantage at halftime.

"It hurts," Ladner said. "It was a gutsy performance by our kids and (Sunday) the effort was outstanding. Our hearts and minds were in the right place.

"Credit goes to Mississippi State. They never quit."

MSU extended its win streak in the series against Ole Miss to five games.
The Lady Bulldogs return to the home court Thursday night when the Tennessee Lady Volunteers come to Starkville for an 8 p.m. game.

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