BETHLEHEM, PA - The University at Buffalo women's basketball teams put together one of their best halves of the season on Wednesday night, but couldn't keep it up in the second half as Mississippi State defeated the Bulls, 72-58, in the opening round of the Lehigh Christmas City Classic. Senior Kourtney Brown became UB's all-time leader in career field goals in the loss and now has 608.
Both teams shot the ball extremely well in the first half with the Bulls taking a two-point advantage into the lockerroom against their foes from the SEC. With the Bulldogs leading 10-7 in the opening half, the Bulls went on an 8-0 run to take their largest lead of the game at five, leading 15-10. UB led by five on two other occasions in the first half before the Bulldogs retook a lead at 23-22 with 8:53 left in the half. UB went on to take a 38-36 advantage in the half on a layup from junior Beth Christensen with 56 seconds left in the half.
The difference in the second half was Mississippi State's ability to keep up its hot shooting, which UB could not do. The Bulldogs shot 50.0 percent in the second half, including 7-for-10 from behind the arc. The Bulls extended their halftime lead to five on a three-point play from Brown with 15:17 left in the second half, but Mississippi State would go on a 17- 2 run, taking a 10-point advantage with 6:51 to go. The Bulldogs hit four of their seven three pointers during that run. Mississippi State would lead by as many as 14 points in the second half, which would also go on to be the final margin of victory.
Brown finished the game with 26 points and eight rebounds, while also adding two assists and three steals. Senior Ashley Zuber had a season-high 12 points, including 2-for-3 from behind the arc. Jessica Fortman and Brittany Hedderson each had five, as Hedderson also had a team-high five assists. Christensen had four points and four rebounds, while Bridgette Kendricks and Nicki Hopkins each added three points.
The Bulldogs were led by 23 points from Porsha Porter, 21 of those coming in the second half. Mary Kathryn Govero had 16 points and Darriel Gaynor had 12.
The Bulls will continue play at the Lehigh Christmas Class tomorrow when they play in the consolation game at 5:00 pm. UB will meet the loser of the Lehigh-Rider game which concludes later tonight.