No. 13 Women's Basketball downs No. 19 Mississippi State in Paradise Jam opener, 73-55
Nov. 26, 2009
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands -- Sophomore guard Ashleigh Fontenette scored a game-high 20 points to lead No. 13 Texas (3-1) to a 73-55 victory against No. 19 Mississippi State (4-1) in the opening game of the Paradise Jam Tournament Thursday Night at the University of the Virgin Islands. Fontenette converted 9-of-10 FG, including 2-of-3 from three-point range, to finish the night perfect from inside the arc.
"This was a great team effort tonight," Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors said. "We wanted this game back, and it was a revenge game for us because Mississippi State put us out of the NCAA Tournament in March. This was a chance for us to show how much we've grown as a team. (Mississippi State) returned all of its starters, and that's a veteran team. This win really shows how far we've come from last year to this point."
Texas used a 10-0 run in the final minutes of the first half to spark a 33-24 lead, its largest lead of the first half, before Mississippi State's Mary Kathryn Govero hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to close the gap to 33-27. Earlier in the half, senior guard Erika Arriaran and Fontenette hit back-to-back 3-point baskets to break a 17-17 tie as the two teams traded the lead three times prior to the 6-0 spurt. Tysheka Grimes hit a jumper at the 5:30 mark to give the Lady Bulldogs one final lead in the half, 24-23, before the Horns capitalized on their 10-0 run to break away at the half.
UT never trailed in the second half and climbed to a game-high 26-point lead at the 8:14 mark with a 65-39 lead. The Horns used the momentum of a 14-4 run at the beginning of the second half to maintain no less than a 12-point lead down the stretch.
Armelie Lumanu led Mississippi State with 14 points, while Alexis Rack added 13. Grimes and Chanel Mokango added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
All 10 Longhorns saw a minimum of six minutes in the game that was a rematch of their 2009 NCAA Tournament First Round game, which the Lady Bulldogs won, 71-63. Senior guard Brittainey Raven added 14 points, including 8-of-9 from the free throw line, and junior guard Kathleen Nash added 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds. UT recorded a season-high 45 rebounds to best MSU's 33.
"We've been telling the team all week that the team with the most rebounds after 40 minutes would be the team that would win this game," Goestenkors added. "Mississippi State had done a great job on the boards up until this point, and we hadn't done a great job. That was one of our primary focuses all week, and I'm so proud of what we accomplished on the boards tonight. We were warriors on the board."
Texas will return to action Friday evening in its second round of the Paradise Jam Tournament against Southern California at 7 p.m. Central.