LADY TIGERS FALL TO MISSISSIPPI STATE
ATLANTA, Georgia---The Tennessee State University women's basketball team dropped the first game of the Atlanta Marriott Holiday Invitational to SEC member Mississippi State 71-45 Friday afternoon in the Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Despite a well played first half by Tennessee State, solid shooting and rebounding in the second half by Mississippi State helped push the Bulldogs to the victory. The Lady Tigers got off to a slow start in the first half, falling behind 6-0 to Mississippi State early. Tennessee State would finally score on a lay-up by LaDona Pierce but a three pointer by Mississippi State's Heather Hollis put the Bulldogs ahead 11-3 with 15:47 left on the clock. A free-throw by Oby Okafor would spark a 12-0 run that would see the Lady Tigers capture a 15-11 lead at the 11:54 mark of the first half. A lay-up by Bethany Washington would even the score before Mississippi State took the lead on a basket from Marneisha Richard (17-15). Tennessee State reclaimed the lead (20-17) on a three-pointer by Jamika Banks followed by a bucket from Jheri Booker with 8:39 left to go in the half. The Bulldogs, however, closed out the first half on a 12-3 run to take a 29-23 lead into the break. Tennessee State struggled on shooting from the floor and from the free-throw line but was able to convert 11 points off Mississippi State turnovers in the first half. The Bulldogs continued to build on their lead in the second half. They out-scored the Lady Tigers 42-22 in route to the 71-45 victory. Oby Okafor and Jamika Banks were the only Lady Tigers to score in double figures with 10 points and five rebounds each. Jheri Booker grabbed nine rebounds for TSU. Tennessee State was out-rebounded 52-37 and shot a dismal 43.8 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from the free-throw line. The Lady Tigers will return to action tomorrow to face Alcorn State in the consolation game. Game time is set for 1 p.m.