STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Lady Razorbacks had balanced scoring with three in double figures, but in the end – quite literally – it was Mississippi State junior Tan White with the game winner over Arkansas, 57-55, at Humphrey Coliseum.
Arkansas, 13-7, lost its fourth straight league game to drop to 2-5 in Southeastern Conference games while MSU moved to 8-11 overall, 3-4 in conference play.
The Lady’Backs return to Fayetteville, but does not play until Sunday’s ESPN telecast against Georgia. The tipoff has been moved back to 3:20 p.m. central time to accommodate television.
Shameka Christon tied the game with 28 seconds left on deep three-pointer at 55-55, and led Arkansas with 16 points.
State countered by putting the game in the hands of its leading scorer. After MSU coach Sharon Fanning called a time out with 18 seconds left, White took the inbounds pass and dribbled off the clock until one second remained. Her fall-away jumper was nothing but net for her 30th point of the game.
“Big time players make big time shots, and she had a big play,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “You’ve got to give her credit for making that. It was a tough shot, and we defended it well.”
The Lady’Backs were solid from the field, hitting 47.1% off 24-of-51, including five three-pointers. State hit only 38%, and for the first time in 340 games did not hit a single three-pointer.
Where Arkansas could not keep pace was at the line where State shot 24 times, making 19, off 17 Lady’Back fouls. Arkansas went to the free throw line only four times.
“This is a tough loss,” Christon said. “We’re trying hard, but we’re not getting it done in these close games.”
Kristin Moore came off the bench for Arkansas for a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Ruby Vaden added 12.
A 7-2 burst to begin the second half gave the Lady’Backs early momentum, and Arkansas’ defense limited MSU to only two field goals in the opening eight minutes of the period.
White kept State in striking distance, scoring 15 of the Lady Bulldogs’ first 18 of the second half. Her free throws with 8:17 left put MSU back into the lead, 45-44.
Moore and Christon kept Arkansas’ offense moving until the 5:49 mark. Leading by two, 48-46, the Lady’Backs managed only one field goal over the next four minutes leading to a 54-50 MSU lead.
Christon snapped the draught to pull Arkansas with two, 54-52, at 1:51.
Arkansas shut down the Lady Bulldog offense, but could not buy a bucket. Forced to foul after missing with 45 seconds left, Tiania Burns obliged Arkansas by missing the second of two free throws to set up Christon’s final three-pointer.
Arkansas opened the game with a three-point barrage from Christon and Shanna Harmon for a 10-6 lead that disappeared over the next five minutes. Miss State’s 11-2 run led by six points from White put the Lady Bulldogs up by 17-12 as Arkansas struggled to control the ball.
After 10 turnovers in the opening 10 minutes, Arkansas got back into contention behind eight points from Vaden. The teams traded leads at the close of the half before heading to the locker rooms tied at 27-27.
While White led all scoring at half with 12 of MSU’s 27, Arkansas managed to stay in contention with its leading scorer, Christon, picking up only five points while spending almost as much time on the bench as in the game — 11 minutes played.
White’s 30 was over half of MSU points. The only other Lady Bulldog in double figures was Burns with 11.