MSU responds with strong second half

STARKVILLE, Miss., - A lackluster start left Mississippi State trailing Northwestern State at halftime Friday night and also had Lady Bulldogs head coach Vic Schaefer fuming.
But after an old fashioned butt-chewing during intermission, MSU came out strong on both ends of the floor in the second half. The Lady Dogs went on a 15-0 run at one point and held Northwestern State to just 18 points total in the final half for a 65-49 victory.
"You love the way they come out in the second half but it shouldn't have to be that way," Schaefer said. "And we've had more than one of those serious heart-to-heart's (at halftime) this year. It's not fun in coaching to have to go in there and do that all the time. That's not why you get into coaching. You'd like kids to be ready and excited about playing. You have a plan, go execute it. We're certainly coaching them that way. They are awfully sweet kids but at some point when the lights come on I need the sweetness to go away and an animal to appear for about two hours. Right now I'm really struggling with getting that game face on these young people."
The Lady Demons held the lead for the majority of the first half spurting out to a 10-point advantage with 7:23 to go before the half. But State finished the opening half on a 15-7 run to close the gap to 31-29 at the break.
"During halftime coach really reamed us out and I think we all had a change of heart after that," said MSU sophomore center Martha Alwal.
The Lady Bulldogs took the lead two minutes into the second half and never looked back. Mississippi State also went on a 15-0 run shutting out the Lady Demons for over four minutes to extend their advantage and improve to 7-5 on the season.
Schaefer's squad shot 40-percent from the floor for the game and finished with a positive assist to turnover ratio (14-12) for the first time all season.
Carnecia Williams led all scorers with 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting and also contributed eight rebounds.
"We just have to learn to start with more intensity," Williams said. "We didn't come out with a mindset of holding them to a certain amount of points. We were basically just out there running around and didn't know where our men were, weren't rebounding or blocking out. That's been our biggest struggle so far and is something we have to continue to work on."
Alwal finished with her fifth double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 boards.
"I'm one to just sit around and watch a rebound," Alwal said. "Coach has been getting onto me every practice now to stop staring at the ball and going in there. And the points-wise, I have to be more strong with the ball. I have to be stronger with the ball and want the ball and to score instead of just chilling."
Katia May added 11 points and six assists for the Lady Bulldogs.
"Every game it seems like somebody new steps up for us," Schaefer said. "One kid can't put one back-to-back. Katia is usually pretty solid defensively but you're trying to get kids to put good games back-to-back to develop some consistency. That's the challenge for a young, immature team."
Northwestern State (4-6) shot 27.8-percent on the evening and committed 20 turnovers.
Jasmine Bradley paced the Lady Demons with 15 points and 11 rebounds on 5-of-13 shooting. Bradley scored 11 of her points in the first half including three treys.
Keisha Lee chipped in eight points and Janelle Perez scored seven in the loss.
The Lady Bulldogs will return to action on Saturday hosting Troy at 7 p.m.