PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico - Mississippi State dropped a 61-59 heart-breaker to Winthrop in a women's basketball game played at the Harwood Tournament of Hope Tuesday afternoon.
Dequesha McClanhan assured victory for the Lady Eagles when she hit a baseline jumper as time expired. Winthrop moved the ball the length of the court in 3.9 seconds after MSU's Martha Alwal had tied the game with a basket on the Bulldogs' offensive end.
"It's disappointing for our kids," MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. "This type of game is a hard lesson to learn from. I'm sure looking back you could find one possession that could have been the difference. I just feel sick for our kids after this tough game, but we have to get ready to bounce back tomorrow."
After a nip-and-tuck first half, the Bulldogs actually built a nine-point advantage midway through the second half. A big rally to end the half had pushed the Maroon and White into a 26-23 advantage at halftime.
In the early stages of the second half, MSU (2-2) stretch the lead to four on a Darriel Gaynor 3-point basket. The Lady Eagles (2-1) battled back for two ties before the Bulldogs surged ahead again.
Alwal scored four of her team's six points during a 6-0 run as MSU climbed to a 37-31 lead. After Winthrop whittled the lead back down to two, the Bulldogs took the game's longest lead at 51-42 with 6:47 remaining.
A layup by Carnecia Williams created the nine-point push. A basket by Katia May kept the Bulldogs in that lead at 53-44.
Winthrop then took control of the contest with the game's next 13 points. The Lady Eagles moved the ball inside and made their way to free throw line. After hitting 1-of-7 free throws in the first half, Winthrop hit six straight to start the 13-0 run.
A 3-pointer by Diana Choibekova placed Winthrop on top at 55-53 with 3:31 left in regulation.
The Bulldogs would fall down four at 59-55 before mounting one final push. A layup by Sherise Williams brought MSU within two with 1:08 left. The Bulldogs followed with back-to-back defensive stops, setting up Alwal's game-tying shot.
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 22 of 66 shots from the field (33.3 percent), 4 of 9 shots from 3-point range (44.4 percent) and 11 of 13 shots from the foul line (84.6 percent). The Lady Eagles hit 22 of 56 shots from the field (39.3 percent), 5 of 13 shots from 3-point range (38.5 percent) and 12 of 21 shots from the foul line (57.1 percent).
Winthrop held a 41-38 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 16 assists and 16 turnovers, while the Lady Eagles had nine assists and 20 turnovers.
Alwal posted a double-double for MSU with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Kendra Grant followed with nine points.
Winthrop placed four players in double figures. Choibekova had 17 points, followed by McClanahan and Samiya Wright with 13 points apiece. Schaquilla Nunn posted a triple-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.
The Bulldogs will face California Santa Barbara at 1 p.m. CT Wednesday.