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MSU women rally from deficit to claim victory

December 29, 2012

Vic Schaefer

Mississippi State women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer doesn't like to lose.

With that to consider, Schaefer wasn't a very happy man during the first half of Friday's game against Northwestern State.

The Bulldogs saw themselves down by 10 points at 24-14 with 7:23 remaining in the opening 20 minutes and the Lady Demons were having an easy time on the court.

MSU ended up holding Northwestern to 18 points in the second half and won a 65-49 decision at Humphrey Coliseum.

The fact that the Bulldogs waited so long to get their act together was disappointing to Schaefer.

"I love them so much and they are so much fun to be around," Schaefer said. "They are great kids, but when I let my guard down, they can make my life miserable and it's not fun sometimes.

"At halftime, our locker room was not a good place to be when we only have five offensive rebounds. We were not playing hard and before the first media timeout, we were looking and watching. We're teaching accountability and do your job.

"We're teaching instincts with kids that don't have any and level of expectation and understanding that when the lights come on and you are wearing mississippi State that there's a level of expectation of how to play and represent this university. It's about giving them the gameplan and execute without chewing out people all the time."

After trailing 29-20 with 3:33 left in the first half, MSU began chipping away at the difference and a pair of free throws by Katia May closed the gap to 31-29 at halftime.

The Bulldogs went on a 15-0 run in the second half to turn a 33-32 deficit into a 47-33 lead.

Jessy Ward had a 3-point field goal, Martha Alwal and Jerica James had two baskets each and Carnecia Williams had a pair of free throws during the surge.

"We finally got after it at the end of first half," Schaefer said. "The press kicked in and we got some easy looks off that. (Ward) and J.J. (James) were key in our spark (in the second half Friday night)."

Northwestern State took a 13-4 lead early in the first half and took advantage of MSU's slow start.

"In the first half, we came out with no energy or heart," Alwal said. "We came out really slow."

Carnecia Williams, who led the Bulldogs with 16 points, knows it's important to start games better.

"We have to learn to come out with more intensity out there," Williams said. "We need to come out with more punch and have to be more focused."

May had 11 points for MSU, while Alwal had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. It was the fifth double-double of the season for Alwal.

Schaefer said Alwal is just scratching the surface of what she can be on the court.

"She has the ability to do so much more and she doesn't," Schaefer said. "She has a tremendous upside and it's my job to get it out of her. She can be really good, but it's typical of young players that she takes plays off, but you can say that about all 12 of them."

The Bulldogs get an opportunity for a quicker start and improve at home tonight when Troy comes to town. Tip at Humphrey Coliseum is set for 7 p.m.

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