Feb. 25, 2010
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Freshman forward Celiscia Farmer scored 10 points, while junior guard Alyson Butler added nine points and three rebounds as the Alabama women's basketball team dropped a 71-47 decision to the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs on Thursday on Senior Night at Coleman Coliseum.
Sophomore center Carmen McCoy scored seven points and added four rebounds for the Crimson Tide (11-17, 3-12 SEC), who garnered more SEC home wins this year than the past two years combined. Additionally, junior forward Tierney Jenkins became the 22nd player in Alabama history to notch 1,000 career points, with her six-point effort against the Lady Bulldogs
"This was Senior Night for us, and I will be honest with you, going into the game after we introduced the seniors and gave out the jerseys and all that and everybody was over there hugging each other, I was thinking to myself that we've got to have Senior Night, but we might have to move it somewhere else," Alabama head coach Wendell Hudson said. "That was not the problem necessarily starting, but emotionally you could just look at them and tell that they were affected."
Mississippi State (18-10, 9-6), who is currently tied for third place in the conference, were led by junior Mary Kathryn Govero's game-high 20 points and senior Tysheka Grimes, who added 16. Senior Chanel Mokango pulled down 11 rebounds for the Lady Bulldogs.
"I think they're the most athletic team in the conference," Hudson said. "If they're not the most, then they're the second most. It's between them and Kentucky as far as the way I would look at it in terms of the athletes, and they're a senior-laden team with junior college players who've played a lot."
After a slow start, Alabama awoke late in the first half and seemed on the verge of its second consecutive comeback win.
The Crimson whittled down a 16-point Mississippi State lead to nine late in the first half, but allowed the Lady Bulldogs to open the second half on a 14-2 run that proved to be too large to overcome.
Back-to-back three point baskets by Mississippi State quickly expounded the margin from 29-19 to 35-19 before a Grimes layup gave the Lady Bulldogs its biggest lead of the game at 37-19. Alabama countered with a Dedrea Magee layup before MSU rattled off six more points to take a 43-21 advantage.
Both teams traded baskets over the next three-and-a-half minutes before a pair of Govero three pointers upped the Lady Bulldog lead to 54-25 at the 12:30 juncture of the half.
From there Alabama mustered just one basket over the next five minutes as MSU increased the lead, once more, to 65-27. All told, the Tide was outscored 36-8 over the first 12:35 of the second half.
"It was a 10-point game right there at the start," Hudson said. "It was 29-19 and we talked about just hanging in there. We did a couple of things right early, but we didn't make any transition. We didn't get any easy baskets. It's one of those things where the reason why Mississippi State is where they are in the Conference - 9-6, playing pretty good and probably on their way to the NCAA Tournament. They played that way. They played like they were an NCAA Tournament team."
Alabama outscored MSU 20-6 over the final 7:47 to make the margin respectable.
The Bulldogs opened the game on a 7-0 run, holding Alabama scoreless for the first 5:31 of the half. Mississippi State stretched the lead to 14-2 at the 12:31 mark before the Tide cut the lead to 16-8 on a pair of McCoy free throws.
Alabama held Mississippi State to a paltry 30.4 percent field goal percentage during the opening stretch but turned the ball over eight times, while shooting just 20.0 percent from the field themselves. Additionally, the Lady Bulldogs held an early 20-9 rebounding advantage which led to seven second-chance points.
Following McCoy's free throws, Mississippi State went on a 10-0 run spanning 3:14 of the half to open up its largest lead of the game at 26-8. Back-to-back buckets by Jenkins and a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Ericka Russell momentarily ended the Lady Bulldog run, cutting the deficit to 26-14 at the 3:10 mark.
Less than a minute later, another Jenkins basket coupled with a Butler three pointer culminated in an 11-2 Alabama run that cut the margin to nine.
A free throw by senior Armelie Lumanu closed out the first half scoring, giving the Lady Bulldogs a 29-19 lead.
Alabama closes out the regular season portion of its schedule on Sunday when it travels to Gainesville, Fla., to take on the Florida Gators. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. (CST).