Lady Dogs top Ole Miss in overtime

Published 11:23 am Monday, February 13, 2012

Even in a disappointing season, Mississippi State can count on its friends to the north for comfort.

Porsha Porter scored six of her game-high 18 points in overtime, and the Lady Bulldogs overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half to beat archrival Ole Miss 53-50 on Sunday afternoon in Starkville.

Mississippi State (14-11, 4-8 Southeastern Conference) snapped a five-game losing streak with its seventh win over Ole Miss (12-14, 2-11) in eight tries. MSU has won five straight against the Lady Rebels, and swept the season series for the third time in four seasons.

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“You have to believe you can win, then you have to expect to win,” Mississippi State coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. “After that, you have to put yourself in a position to win. Even though we were outrebounded, we did manage our fair share of key rebounds in the second half. We also forced turnovers. Essentially, we hung in there until some good things could happen for us.”

Both teams shot below 30 percent from the floor, and went a combined 5-for-26 from 3-point range. The only 3-pointer Mississippi State hit, however, was a big one. Diamber Johnson drilled it with 5 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 43 and send it to overtime.

The shot capped State’s comeback from a 37-27 deficit with 12:45 remaining, and it never trailed again. After the teams swapped baskets early in overtime, Martha Alwal scored on a layup to put the Lady Bulldogs ahead 47-45 with 2:38 to go. Porter added a jumper 45 seconds later to make it a four-point game, and Mississippi State stayed just ahead of Ole Miss the rest of the way.

Porter sank two free throws with 4 seconds left to make it 53-50. Ole Miss had one last shot, but Valencia McFarland’s half-court shot was off the mark as time ran out.

McFarland led Ole Miss with 16 points, while Danielle McCray and Tia Faleru each grabbed 12 rebounds.