for this game

Rack leads Miss. St. past No. 9 Georgia 74-66

Jan 29, 2010 - 5:17 AM By CHRIS TALBOTT Associated Press Writer

STARKVILLE, Miss.(AP) -- Chanel Mokango has a nickname for Mississippi State's guards: The Pulse.

A perfect description for the effort Alexis Rack and Armelie Lumanu put up in a 74-66 win over No. 9 Georgia on Thursday night.

"We're the pulse of the team," Rack said. "If we don't have high energy, the rest of the team's not going to have high energy."

Rack and Lumanu supplied the energy as Mississippi State (14-7, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) scored its second straight upset of a Top 25 team and beat its highest ranked opponent since dropping No. 9 Florida in 2001.

Rack scored 34 against Georgia (18-3, 5-3), hitting 7 of 10 3-point shots and 9 of 9 free throws with seven rebounds, and Lumanu added 15 with seven rebounds and four assists.

It was Mississippi State's fourth win against a ranked opponent this season and its second of the week after sweeping the season series against Vanderbilt with a victory Sunday in Nashville.

"I thought before the season started they're one of the four best teams in our league," Georgia coach Andy Landers said, "and I still think they are."

Georgia entered the game with a reputation for defense, but Mississippi State used its own pressure to ambush its opponent and build an early lead that Rack preserved with big shot after big shot in a 24-point second half.

Georgia hit just 36.4 percent of its shots (24 of 66) and only 4 of 19 3-pointers. Meredith Mitchell led Georgia with 16 points and Porsha Phillips had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Georgia missed 13 of its first 21 shots and didn't have a field goal in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the first half. Mississippi State outscored Georgia 18-8 over the final 8:11 to lead 35-25 at halftime.

That included a 12-2 spurt in the final 4:23 that was punctuated by two 3-pointers from Rack. Mokango also was effective during that final flurry with two blocks, two defensive rebounds and a field goal.

"They got us in transition," Landers said. "They blew down the floor. They got the ball in the 20-foot area before we got back."

And with an advantage in numbers, the choices came easy for Mississippi State's guards.

"I decided to attack them," Lumanu said.

Georgia turned up the defense to start the second half, holding Mississippi State to just two field goals in the first 6 minutes. But they were 3-pointers from Rack, who would keep her team in the game by scoring 13 of the Lady Bulldogs' first 16 second-half points.

Each time Georgia made a small run, Rack came up with a big play. Georgia cut the lead to 43-37 on a pair of free throws from Ashley Houts. Rack answered by pulling down an offensive rebound, dribbling through four players, then throwing up a layup as she fell to the floor.

That was the start of a quick six-point spurt that Rack capped off by hitting three straight free throws after being fouled on a 3-point shot. That gave Mississippi State a 49-37 lead with 11:17 left.

She hit a 3 2 minutes later to help end another threat by Georgia, pushed the lead to 13 with another 3 with 6:49 remaining and gave the Lady Bulldogs their biggest lead with yet another 3 to make it 64-48 with 4:35 left. Georgia would outscore Mississippi State 18-10 the rest of the way, cutting it as close as 68-64, but Mississippi State hit six straight free throws to end the game.

Mississippi State started the season in the Top 25 but dropped out. The players feel like they've shaken off their early problems and are just starting to return to form.

"We're just improving and starting to play more together as a team," Rack said. "And we're just going to keep getting better."