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Paint Production Leads to Bulldog Win
The Bulldogs, now 12-14 overall and 4-9 in SEC play, worked the mismatches to start the game, scoring their first fourteen points in the paint. In contrast to the rangy LSU team they played previously, Mississippi State found it much easier to reach their post players. The efforts in the paint continued on the defensive end as Mississippi State recorded five blocks in the first nine minutes of action. Sophomore Martha Alwal had four of the five. "Inside I feel like our chemistry is great. I mean our high-low game is unstoppable right now," junior forward Carnecia Williams said. With nine minutes left in the half, the Bulldogs scored their first field goal outside of the paint, a three pointer by sophomore Kendra Grant. Her shot gave Mississippi State a 23-11 lead. The effort on both ends of the floor never wavered, and Mississippi State held the lead 31-22 with 3:50 left in the half. Dominating the post was Carnecia Williams, while playing through a left knee injury. "Confidence was the key. The coaches kept telling me I could play," Williams said on her decision to play. Their lead carried all the way to the locker room, with the score 38-28 at halftime. The Bulldogs continued the second half just as they began the first. Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer stressed post play throughout the entire night. With their paint points increasing, Mississippi State extended their lead to 16 with 15:44 remaining. Mississippi State then went on a 13-0 run that expanded their lead to a dominating 55-30 with 12 minutes to play in the game. The Bulldogs continued their outstanding play for the remainder of the game and produced a huge 24-point victory over Alabama. Of the 75 points, Carnecia Williams led her team with 25. She was followed by Martha Alwal who had 18. Additionally, Alwal was two blocks (8) away from a triple-double. As a whole, the Bulldogs shot 26-66 (39.4%), and the Crimson Tide ended with a 17-65 (26.2%) night. The Bulldogs' points included 38 in the paint, while Alabama only put up 18. "I thought my 4 and 5 were outstanding tonight, and that's where we felt like we had an advantage," Schaefer said. "I also thought our kids did a good job of taking away their second chance points, and that's something we stressed at half. I was really pleased with getting back to playing hard and being disruptive on defense." Schaefer also felt the team showed signs of what it can be like in future years. "There is an accountability that we have been trying to teach all year long, and I am excited to see what this group can do in the future. We just need to keep getting better," said Schaefer. The Bulldogs now travel to South Carolina on Sunday to face the Gamecocks. "We're coming down to the end, so it's a good time to be playing well," Schaefer said. Carew Ferguson is a feature writer for the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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