MS State's Smith bests Old Dominion from beyond the arc
TAMPA, Fla. - Behind a career-high 23-points from Ahlana Smith, Mississippi State opened the 2022 Sun Coast Challenge with a dominating performance against Old Dominion on Monday, 83-47. The win moves the Bulldogs to 10-2 on the season with one non-conference game left to play.
Mississippi State's decisive win over Old Dominion was highlighted by State's offense that shot a season-high 69% from the three-point line (11-for-16). The height and length of the Bulldogs proved to be a problem for ODU as the Bulldogs outscored Old Dominion 44-20 in the paint. State had three players score in double-figures, Smith with a career-high (23), Asianae Johnson (16), and Denae Carter (10).
Ahlana Smith made a statement on Monday, earning just the second 20-point game for MSU this season. On her way to a career-high, Smith went 5-for-6 from three. She scored 11 points in the first half, going 3-for-3 from behind the three-point line. Smith's defense was also stifling, with a season-high six rebounds and tying her season-high with four assists on the day.
Asianae Johnson tied her career-high with 16 points shooting perfectly from the three-point line (2-for-2) and 6-for-8 (75%) from the field. Denae Carter led the team with seven rebounds, with Smith and Jessika Carter following closely behind with six a piece. Anastasia Hayes fed State the ball with five assists and four steals.
- State won the rebounding battle over ODU, 40-31.
- Smith knocked down a career-high five triples.
- MSU's 11 made threes is a team-high this season. It's also the third time this season that MSU has made double-digit triples.
- Jessika Carter drew a season-high four charges and four blocked shots. It's her fifth game this season with at least four blocked shots.
- State has recorded double-digit steals in seven straight games.
- MSU's largest lead of the game was 38 at the 1:33 left mark in the fourth quarter. State won by 36.
Quoting Coach Purcell
On the team win over ODU
"Obviously, I know her from coaching her at Louisville. I know she has it in her. That's why we went to Busch Gardens to just say, you know what, we gotta relax. We need to have fun. We're playing basketball. We're not solving the world's problems. We're not having surgery to save a life. We're playing basketball. I thought you saw a joy from our young women. I'm really proud. The only thing I'm a little disappointed in was the turnovers. But other than that, we got a lot of great minutes after JerKaila got two fouls early. And for us to have other people step up in that first half was huge. Great team win.
Quoting Ahlana Smith
On her career-high performance
"It definitely wasn't on my forefront, overall. I try to come out and play every game the same way no matter the competition, no matter who we are playing. Just to stay locked in, play my game, and let the game come to me so today was just a blessing honestly. It was a great team win, and I didn't even know I had 23, so that's amazing to me."
Mississippi State will play New Mexico on Wednesday, Dec. 21, in the final game of the Sun Coast Challenge. Tipoff is set for 12 p.m. CT. Streaming of the game will be on BallerTV.