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Furious rally comes up short against Miss State

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Furious rally comes up short against Miss State

NASHVILLE – Senior Shameka Christon and sophomore Kristin Moore pulled down double-doubles, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the double-digit halftime deficit as Mississippi State ended the University of Arkansas’ trip to the 2004 Southeastern Conference Women’s Basketball tournament in the opening game, 79-74. The loss drops the Lady Razorbacks to 16-12 for the season, while Mississippi State, 14-14, advances to play the tournament’s top seed, the No. 1 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols, on Friday. "We dug ourselves a tremendous hole," UA head coach Susie Gardner said. "We cut it to two, but we just couldn’t get the game tied. We dug ourselves too deep of a hole in the first half." Christon scored 20 points with 10 rebounds while Moore pumped in 17 points and 12 boards. Tan White led all scorers for Miss State with 22 followed by Tiania Burns with 21. A 14-2 streak by MSU in the first half drove the Lady Bulldogs to a lead of as many as 20 that Arkansas could only cut to 18 at halftime, 47-29. In the second half, the roles were reversed as Arkansas erased all but two points of the MSU lead with 2:31 left to play. With Arkansas playing aggressive defense, Burns broke through the Lady’Back pressure to score two critical breakaway layups to regain a six-point buffer. Christon hit a three-pointer with 28 seconds left to put Arkansas within a possession, but clutch free throws by Doceide Warren iced the game two seconds later. The Lady’Backs missed two shots at the end that could have closed the gap, but would still have needed another MSU turnover. The SEC player of the year, Christon was extremely disappointed in the outcome. "I really felt like we were going to pull it out," Christon said. "We wanted this game really bad, and we were fighting. We just didn’t have it." Moore was Arkansas’ only double-digit scorer in the first half, hitting 5-of-7 from the field for 11 points as Arkansas hit only 35.7% as a team. Meanwhile, MSU’s White scored 17 points to give the Lady Bulldogs a huge lead. White had only five second half points and four turnovers as Arkansas’ pressure, particularly from junior Adrienne Bush. "Adrienne did a great job with her pressure," Moore said. "She gave us a chance." Arkansas had 14 turnovers in the first half to only three for State, but the Lady’Backs turned that statistic around to start their comeback by forcing 10 miscues from the Lady Bulldogs. Starting for the second straight game for injured Ruby Vaden, senior Shanna Harmon brought Arkansas to within single digits in the Lady’Backs first rally of the second half. Her three-pointer with with 7:57 made it a 62-53 deficit. State edged back to a 10-point lead twice, but a three-pointer from Kristin Peoples with 3:23 cut the lead under 10 for good, 71-64, with 3:23 left to play. The three was a part of a 9-0 run by Arkansas to get within two, 71-69. Christon’s double was her sixth of the year and for Moore it was her third. Peoples finished with 10 to round out Arkansas’ double-digit scoring. Behind White and Burns 20-point games, State picked up 15 from Mamie McKinney. Arkansas dominated the boards, pulling down 45 rebounds to only 26 for MSU. The Lady’Backs did receive a lift from Vaden, who returned to the floor for the first time since the two teams’ regular season meeting in Starkville back on Feb. 1. The 6-3 sophomore played 15 minutes, scoring eight.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)