BATON ROUGE, La. — Mississippi State senior Diamber Johnson joined the 1,000-point club Thursday night. However, the Lady Bulldogs could not do enough to make this special night lead to a victory.
Rallying from down a point late, LSU scored eight straight points as the Lady Tigers knocked off the Lady Bulldogs 53-49 in a Southeastern Conference women’s basketball game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Johnson, a four-year letter winner from Pontotoc, scored 15 points and now has 1,004 for her Maroon and White career. A total of 19 players belong to the 1,000-point club for MSU women’s basketball.
“It is a great to see a young lady like Diamber grow like she has,” MSU head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. “I hope Diamber has a lot to talk about when she finishes her career in addition to her 1,000 points. We are very proud of her.”
The Lady Bulldogs held LSU to 33 percent shooting from the field in the second half but were done in by their own three-minute scoreless stretch as the Lady Tigers were able to pull away.
“We didn’t take care of the basketball like we needed to in the second half,” Fanning-Otis said. “We did try to rebound better and play tough enough to defense to win a basketball game. Putting yourself in a position to win is key. You can’t let a player do what she does well.
“(Lasondra) Barrett took the ball at us, and we didn’t do the job on her we needed to do.”
Barrett led all scorers with 17 points, including an 11-of-13 night at the foul line.
MSU dropped its fifth straight, while falling to 13-11 overall and 3-8 in league play. LSU improved to 16-8 and 6-5.
Neither team led by more than four points before LSU broke a 21-21 tie with seven straight points. A 3-pointer by Adrienne Webb fueled the run as the Lady Tigers built a 28-21 lead with 1:26 left before halftime.
The Maroon and White answered with back-to-back baskets from Porsha Porter and Shamia Robinson to trail 28-25 at the intermission.
The Lady Tigers still led 30-25 before MSU answered with seven straight points, including a 3-pointer from Darriel Gaynor.
Johnson hit the 1,000-point mark as a pair of free throws capped the run and pushed the guests to a 32-30 advantage.
The lead switched hands a couple of more times with a Darriel Gaynor 3-point basket placing the Maroon and White on top for the final time at 42-41.
“We had some opportunities late to get a big defensive play, but we couldn’t,” Fanning-Otis said. “I was pleased with our effort, and if we continue to play this hard we’ll find a way to win some ballgames.”
For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 18 of 50 shots from the field (36.0 percent), 5 of 12 shots from 3-point range (41.7 percent) and 8 of 10 shots from the foul line (80.0 percent). The Lady Tigers hit 18 of 43 shots from the field (41.9 percent), 2 of 9 shots from 3-point range (22.2 percent) and 15 of 19 shots from the foul line (78.9 percent).
MSU held a 31-30 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had nine assists and 16 turnovers, while the Lady Tigers had 12 assists and 15 turnovers.
Gaynor trailed Johnson with nine points for MSU, while Catina Bett had a team-high seven rebounds. Webb was also in double figures for LSU with 10 points.
MSU hosts Ole Miss at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The in-state rivalry will be televised regionally by SportSouth.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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