Posted on December 13, 2016
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – The Trojan women’s basketball team gave No. 5 Mississippi State all it could handle, but the Bulldogs eventually pulled away for a 58-44 victory at the Jack Stephens Center on Tuesday night.
Playing against its highest-ranked foe ever at home, Little Rock (5-5) was within 1 point at halftime and 4 after the third quarter. But the Bulldogs’ (10-0) inside strength combined with Trojan foul trouble helped the visitors outscored the home team 20-10 in the final period. Little Rock held the Bulldogs 22 points below their season average despite the loss.
Ronjanae DeGray had the best offensive night of her career for the Trojans, scoring 18 points on 7-of-7 shooting and a 4-of-5 effort from the free-throw line. Sharde’ Collins was also in double figures with 11 points as the Trojans shot 48 percent from the field.
Little Rock entered the fourth quarter down only 38-34. But four fouls each for Collins and Collier kept the two of them on the bench until midway through the period. During that stretch without them, Mississippi State went inside and expanded their lead to 8 and then 10 points, their largest leads of the game to that point.
Fourteen total points in the paint in the fourth quarter helped the Bulldogs to their final margin of victory, and Little Rock finished the game with 21 turnovers that resulted in 24 Mississippi State points.
The Trojans held Mississippi State to just 25 points in the first half, forcing 10 Mississippi State turnovers. Collins put up 9 points and the Trojans shot 46 percent for the half.
The team led 17-12 at one point, but fouls started becoming a problem in the second quarter. The Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run from there, and four Little Rock starters combined for 10 fouls in the first half including three each for Collins and Collier. The Bulldogs scored 7 of the final 9 points in the half to take a 25-24 lead into the break.
With their final home non-conference game complete, the Trojans will now travel for two games to finish the non-conference schedule. First up is a game on Sunday at Tulsa with tipoff time set for 2 p.m.