STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State’s late rally came up short as the Lady Bulldogs dropped a 65-62 decision to Arkansas in a Southeastern Conference women’s basketball game Sunday afternoon in the Humphrey Coliseum.
MSU could not build on the momentum established by road victories in the past week at both Kentucky and LSU. The Lady Bulldogs lost for the third time at home this year, falling to 15-5 overall and 3-3 in conference play. Meanwhile, Arkansas, who has battled through a difficult schedule in early league play, improved to 12-8 and 1-4.
The Lady Bulldogs struggled out the gate, falling behind 17-6 at the 13:55 mark of the first half. MSU then appeared to get things together, reeling off a 17-0 run. That run included three 3-point baskets by Alexis Rack and another by Diamber Johnson. Things remained tight in an offensive-oriented first half. The Razorbacks eased into halftime with a 36-32 advantage.
Arkansas continued to be the aggressor and maintained a slight advantage through most of the second half. The Razorbacks built a 54-45 lead with 9:19 left in regulation on a jumper by Ashley McCray. MSU eventually rallied again, piecing together a 10-2 run for a 60-60 tie with 4:02 left in the contest.
The Lady Bulldogs would never mange the lead, missing one of two free throw tries on one possession and lane violating away another potential game-tying point on the next possession.
Arkansas pushed the lead to 65-62 on a McCray putback with 8.8 seconds left. The Razorbacks actually had three attempts to score on that trip thanks to two offensive rebounds. MSU had one last chance but Rack failed to convert on a 3-point attempt from about 24 feet out in the waning seconds.
For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 22 of 61 shots from the field (36.1 percent), 8 of 24 shots from 3-point range (33.3 percent) and 10 of 20 foul shots in the contest (50.0 percent). Meanwhile, the Razorbacks hit 27 of 62 shots from the field (43.5 percent), 5 of 16 shots from 3-point range (31.3 percent) and 6 of 7 shots from the foul line (85.7 percent).
Arkansas finished with a 42-40 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had 11 assists and 14 turnovers, while the Razorbacks had 11 assists and 15 turnovers.
Rack led the MSU offensive attack with 18 points, including a 5 of 15 night from 3-point range. Robin Porter added a double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Chanel Mokango added nine points but also blocked five shots.
Ashley McCray paced four Razorbacks in double figures with 14 points. Ceira Ricketts added 13 points, while Lyndsay Harris and Ayana Breeton each added 10 points. Breeton had a team-high 12 rebounds, while Whitney Jones pulled down 10 boards.
The Lady Bulldogs play their final non-conference game of the season at 7 p.m. Thursday when Savannah State comes to the Humphrey Coliseum. League play resumes with a Feb. 1 road trip to Georgia.