The Mississippi State University women’s basketball team narrowly defeated Colorado State University 71-66 last Sunday at Humphrey Coliseum. 

Before tip-off, MSU’s Anastasia Hayes was honored for reaching 2,000 career points in their game against South Dakota State University on Nov. 14.

The two teams battled closely in the first quarter. The Rams led until 4:35 when JerKaila Jordan scored a three-pointer, giving MSU a 14-13 lead. The Rams quickly got back in front until Hayes drilled in a three-pointer for another MSU lead. The Bulldogs ended the quarter ahead 25-21, led by Hayes’ 10 points.

Bulldogs head coach Sam Purcell described CSU’s defense and Hayes’ first-quarter success.

“So, they (CSU) brought in what I call ‘a weak Wilma defense,' Tara (VanDerveer) at Stanford used to run this, … where if they think a player has a weakness, they will not guard them. So, Annie’s (Hayes) obviously been struggling at the beginning of the year, but I’m proud of her. She’d been in the gym the last week,” Purcell said. “So, they started off … closing out way too early … So, for the fact that she carried over what she did in the gym, held her follow through and went straight up and straight down, set the tone for like, ‘OK, now, you got to make an adjustment.’”

The second quarter began with the Rams scoring an early three-point shot. The quarter grew silent for two minutes, with the score stalled at 29-26, MSU.

The silence ended as CSU’s Meghan Boyd tied the game with 4:31 left. MSU found life again when Jessika Carter scored. The two teams continued to battle, but CSU could not overtake the lead in the quarter. With time expiring, Debreasha Powe nailed a three-point shot to extend MSU’s lead to 39-33.

Opening the third quarter, the Rams looked to come back from behind. CSU’s Sydney Mech scored a three-pointer within the first 23 seconds of the quarter to pull the game within three points. The Rams continued to attack, but the Bulldogs kept fighting back and did not allow the Rams to overtake the lead. MSU led 58-52 to end the quarter. 

In the fourth quarter, the Rams searched for a comeback. Even though they outscored the Bulldogs by one point, it was not enough to overtake the lead. Despite MSU’s offensive struggles in the quarter, their strong defensive play paved the way to victory over Colorado State.

The Bulldogs earned their fourth win of the season off double-figure performances by Jessika Carter and Denae Carter and a double-double by Hayes.

After the game, Hayes spoke about her role on the team this season.

“You know, it’s my last year. I want to go out with a bang and want to play really hard, do whatever I can to get the win for my team and doing all I can on the court to get my teammates involved, and, you know, I'm in a different position, but I'm all for it,” Hayes said. “I'm all for the team. I'm all for a win, and that's all I'm trying to do.”

Next, the Bulldogs will travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico to play in the Puerto Rico Clasico. MSU will play Georgetown University on Friday, Nov. 25 at 10 a.m.

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