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February 21, 2013

Getting inside the Tide

STARKVILLE, Miss., - Last year Mississippi State won only four conference games despite having a senior-laden team.

Thursday night the youthful Lady Bulldogs picked up their fourth SEC win 75-51 over Alabama and still have three more regular season outings remaining.

"We just won our fourth game in the SEC with a very immature and inexperienced basketball team," said MSU head coach Vic Schaefer. "I'm really excited for those kids. That's the same amount they won last year with six seniors. We've got three games left and I'm excited to see what this group can do against some really good teams both at home and on the road. We've got our challenges in front of us but I'm awfully proud of this group right now."

MSU (12-14, 4-9) went to work on the Lady Tide on the inside outscoring them 38-18 in the paint and outrebounding Alabama 55-40. Carnecia Williams and Martha Alwal combined for 43 points and 23 rebouds down low.

"I thought our four and five were outstanding tonight," Schaefer said.

Williams did not go through pregame warm-ups and was not expected to play due to a nagging knee injury. But the sophomore forward fought through the pain and was 8-of-12 from the field to with 25 points and eight rebounds in 29 minutes.

"I was hurting and I just had to push through it," Williams said. "Confidence was the key this time. It was just the mindset. (My knee) was bugging me a lot today but I just pushed through it."

Alwal had another all-around game flirting with a triple-double. The sophomre center notched 18 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocked shots. Alwal also led the Lady Bulldogs with three steals.

"I was trying to redeem myself from the LSU game," Alwal said. "I was scoreless and had one rebound. That really bugged me and I just tried really hard to get that double-double and try to redeem myself."

Kendra Grant added 11 points as State finished the night shooting 39.4-percent from the floor.

The Lady Bulldogs led 38-28 at the break and began the first eight minutes of the second half on a 17-2 run.

"I wasn't just patting them on the back at halftime," Schaefer said. "I wanted to see them come out and throw the first punch so to speak in the second half and I thought they did. (Alabama) had one basket at the second timeout at the 11:58 mark (of the second half). They had one basket."

Mississippi State went on to outscore the Lady Tide 37-23 in the second half to cruise to the victory.

Alabama shot 26.2-percent for the game and committed 21 turnovers.

"We are a perimter basketball team," said Alabama head coach Wendell Hudson. "When you're not making perimeter shots that's going to hurt you. State of course has an inside game and they made their baskets in the paint. We didn't do a very good job of keeping them out of the paint."

Kaneisha Horn led the Lady Tide with 16 points in 23 minutes off the bench on 3-of-12 shooting.

Shafontaye Myers added nine points while Meghan Perkins provided 10 rebounds as Alabama dropped to 2-11 in the league and 12-14 overall.

The Lady Bulldogs will play their final regular season road game on Sunday traveling to South Carolina for a 2 p.m. CT tipoff.


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