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December 7, 2012

State holds on for thrilling victory

STARKVILLE, Miss., - Twice already this season Mississippi State has went down in defeat in the waning moments.

Friday night the Lady Bulldogs were determined not to let that happen again. MSU earned a crucial defensive stop with 15 seconds remaining for a thrilling 59-58 victory over Florida Atlantic.

"First of all I'm proud of our kids for winning one with our defense when we've lost two that way," said MSU head coach Vic Scaefer. "Give our kids all the credit. You can say we tried to give it away and that may be true but we still battled and had some toughness down the stretch to find a way to win and get a good stop. They didn't get a good look."

The Lady Dogs shot 50-percent for the game but did not attempt a single 3-point shot in the contest. State also outrebounded the Lady Owls 50-33 and improved to 4-5 on the year.

"Coach was also big on using our post players because we had such a mismatch," said MSU sophomore center Martha Alwal. "He said every play to get a post match."
Freshman Sherise Williams led the Lady Bulldogs with a career-high 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting as well as four blocks.

"I see our kids making progress," Schaefer said. "Sherise Williams was 6-of-7 tonight. Gosh, we're talking about a kid who was 3-for-15 in her first or second game of the year. She is finishing strong and provides a lot for us down there."

Alwal flirted with a triple-double on the night with 10 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks.

Kendra Grant and Carnecia Williams also scored 10 points for State.

The Lady Bulldogs outscored FAU 40-18 in the paint and also overcame 35 turnovers in the game.

"That's 70 points you don't even get a chance to score," Schaefer said. "That's what 35 turnovers are. I promise you this won't be the last time we sit in here and have 35 turnovers. Our point guards have got to learn to take care of the ball and run our team."

Florida Atlantic held a 36-32 lead at the break behind 16 first half points by Takia Brooks. But the Lady Dogs were able to hold FAU to just 22 points in the second half to secure the slim win.

The Lady Owls (5-3) were held to 29.3 shooting on the night including just 7-of-26 behind the arc.

Brooks led all scorers with 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Kimberly Smith added nine points on three treys while Morgan Robinson chipped in eight points in 16 minutes off the bench.

State will be out of action until Dec. 16 due to final exams. That day the Lady Dogs will host Florida A&M.


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