STARKVILLE, Miss. – After trailing by as many as 13, the Xavier women’s basketball team battled back to within two with less than a minute to go before falling at Mississippi State, 71-65. Junior Jessica Pachko led the Musketeers with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Xavier moves to 1-1 on the season while Mississippi State improves to 2-0. The Musketeers out-rebounded the Lady Dawgs, 43-37, and posted a 43.1 percent shooting average while MSU was 40.6 percent from the floor.
The Musketeers had four players with double-figures scoring: Pachko (14), senior Tyeasha Moss with 14 and sophomores Shatyra Hawkes and Lynette Holmes each added 12. Hawkes grabbed a career-high eight rebounds to go with four assists while Moss dished out four assists and swatted one block.
Turnovers were the Musketeers’ worst enemy in the loss to the Lady Bulldogs as XU turned the ball over 19 times to MSU’s eight. Mississippi State also captitalized on 13 steals and scored 22 points off turnovers.
Two clutch free throws down the stretch by Hawkes pulled Xavier to within 67-65 with just 53 seconds left in the contest. The Lady Bulldogs’ Diamber Johnson made four consecutive free throws to seal the win for MSU.
Mississippi State’s Johnson led all scorers with 21 points. Martha Alwal had the other double-double of the night with 14 points and 11 rebounds for MSU.
Holmes and Pachko led the Musketeers during the first half with seven points apiece. Xavier shot a blistering 53.8 percent from the field in the first frame to Mississippi State’s 45.7 percent and XU won the battle of the boards, 21-15.
MSU scored the first two points of the contest but XU rattled off 10 straight and held the 10-4 advantage at the under-16 media timeout. The Musketeers held onto the lead until the Lady Bulldogs put together a 10-0 run to go up, 25-18, with 10 minutes left in the frame. XU was able to cut the lead to two but MSU went into the locker room holding the 37-32 margin.
The Musketeers return to action on Sunday, Nov. 20 with a road trip to Louisville. XU and UofL are set to tipoff at 2 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center.