Cowgirls can’t overcome big first half deficit in loss to Miss. State

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 2:21 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2021 at 2:22 PM CST
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STARKVILLE, Miss.— Mississippi State opened the game by scoring the first 12 points and never looked back on its way to a 102-55 women’s basketball win over McNeese here Wednesday night in a tale of two halves.

Zuzanna Kulinska led the Cowgirls in scoring with 17 points on 6 of 12 from the field including two of the five three-pointers made by the Cowgirls. Kulinska was perfect from the free throw line, making all three attempts.

Kyla Hamilton came off the bench to score 10 points and was the only Cowgirls to reach double figures. Hamilton was 3 of 10 from the field with one three-pointer made along with 3 of 6 from the free throw line.

Divine Tanks led the Cowgirls in rebounds for the third game in a row with 10. The double-digit rebounds is the third game Tanks has recorded 10 or more.

Mississippi State (6-1) took advantage of several McNeese (3-4) turnovers to take a 32-9 lead after the first quarter, then led 56-17 at the half.

McNeese stayed with the Bulldogs in the second half and the Cowgirls were outscored by only eight points 46-38 in the half but a strong offensive first half by the Bulldogs and another slow start for the Cowgirls was too much to overcome.

“It was a game of two halves,” said head coach Lynn Kennedy. “Give Mississippi State credit, they played the first half, as well as they, could. We need to step up to the challenge and be better and in the second half we were.”

State scored 72 of their points in the paint with the majority of them coming off layups. The Cowgirls were outrebounded by 10 (53-43) with 20 of the Cowgirls’ rebounds coming on offense.

After starting the game 0 for16 from three-point range, the Cowgirls opened the second half making four straight from behind the arc. McNeese was only outscored by eight points in the third quarter (28-20) but still had an uphill battle ahead.

In the fourth quarter, the Cowgirls had several open looks but couldn’t get anything to fall meanwhile State’s Rickea Jackson was getting everything to fall. Jackson led all players with a career-high 40 points and was one of four Bulldogs to score in double figures.

“We settled into our flow offensively and got some great looks and defensively we took away some things they did well in the first half. We stayed with them in the second half will all their starters on the floor. Our team kept competing and fighting and we continued to get better throughout the game.”

Anastasia Hayes chipped in with 15 points, Jerkaila Jordan scored 12 and Denae Carter recorded a double-double with 11 pints and a game-high 14 rebounds.

McNeese will take off for a few days and will return to action next Tuesday, Dec. 7 at Lamar.

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