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January 6, 2013Mississippi State looks to bounce back from a tough SEC-opening setback as it opens the home league slate Sunday afternoon against No. 15/18 South Carolina. Tip at Humphrey Coliseum is set for 2 p.m.
The contest will be broadcast on WKBB-FM 100.9 and WXWX-FM 96.3. Live video and audio streams will be available to HailStateTV subscribers at www.hailstate.com/hstvlive.
Vic Schaefer's squad will be looking to rally from a tough 92-41 setback at Vanderbilt in Thursday's conference opener. The loss dropped MSU to 8-6 overall and 0-1 in the league.
"The only way we know how to bounce back around here is to work at it. Our kids have had two good days of practice, and they continue to be a resilient bunch," Schaefer said. "They weren't pleased with their performance Thursday night. Vanderbilt played well, but we didn't play very good. We have a little pride, so we'll see how it goes on Sunday."
The Bulldogs will be seeking redemption on a Humphrey Coliseum court they have enjoyed tremendous success on this season. Mississippi State enters the SEC home slate having compiled an 8-1 record at the Hump this year, including seven-straight victories.
"It's always good to be at home, sleeping in your own bed and eating your own food. The bottom line, though, is we have another great team coming here. South Carolina takes great pride in being a good defensive team. Dawn Staley does a great job coaching them, and they play like her with a lot of passion and fire," Schaefer said. "They typically don't give up 73 points like they did to Tennessee, so they'll come here with their ears pinned back ready to go, and that will be a challenge for us."
Sunday's contest will be a battle between two of the SEC's top inside players in Bulldog sophomore Martha Alwal and South Carolina sophomore Aleighsa Welch.
Alwal, who scored a team-high 14 points at Vanderbilt, boasts the league's second-highest rebounding average at 9.5, while Welch rates fourth with an 8.9 clip.
The pair is tied for tops in the SEC in double-doubles with six, while Alwal's eight double-digit rebounding games are one ahead of Welch for the league lead.
Alwal's 14-point effort on Thursday was her third-straight game in double figures. The Worthington, Minn., native is averaging 12.1 ppg this season, the second-highest average on the squad.
Kendra Grant tops MSU in scoring with a 12.3 per-game clip. The Richland, Miss, native will be looking to return to her pre-SEC form after being held scoreless at Vanderbilt.
Like Alwal, sophomore Carnecia Williams reached double-figures for the third-straight contest as she collected 11 in Nashville.
The Memphis native has been State's top scorer the last three games, averaging 15.7 points to raise her season tally to 9.1 ppg.
Welch leads a South Carolina team that is 12-2 overall and 0-1 in SEC play following a 73-53 home setback to Tennessee on Thursday.
In addition to her 11.9 scoring average, Welch also grabs 8.9 rebounds per contest for a Gamecocks defense that allows 47.5 points, the lowest in the SEC and fourth-best in the nation.
Tiffany Mitchell also averages double figures for South Carolina with 11.5 ppg.
Sunday's contest is the first of two-straight home games for the Bulldogs as they host Florida at 7 p.m. Thursday.
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