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MSU women struggle to score in 60-46 loss to South Carolina

January 6, 2013

The Mississippi State women's basketball team ranked last in the Southeastern Conference in scoring offense at 60.5 points going into Sunday's matchup against South Carolina.

The 46 points put up by the Bulldogs against the Gamecocks won't help that standing.

MSU lost a 60-46 decision at Humphrey Coliseum and fell to 0-2 in the league.

One area that proved costly in the Bulldogs' effort was their inability to score in the post. MSU was outscored 24-10 in the paint by South Carolina and it got no points out of Carnecia Williams, who was averaging 9.1 points per game.

For coach Vic Schaefer, the key to the game was the struggles for the Bulldogs in the post.

"(The starters in the post) were only 1 of 5 from the field and that's been our bread and butter," Schaefer said. "Martha (Alwal) only had four touches, but was in foul trouble for most of the game. Carnecia got two quick fouls and wasn't ready to go."

Alwal only hit one field goal for MSU and added two free throws for four points, while Sherise Williams came off the bench to provide five points and former West Oktibbeha player Shamia Robinson also came in to give two points.

As Schaefer saw it, the lack of production from the post wasn't only due to the post players not getting open, but the other Bulldogs not always finding them when they were.

"To be honest, they didn't take it away, but we couldn't get Kendra (Grant) to throw ball inside," Schaefer said. "We turned them down. We need to give kids a look and give Martha a chance to get fouled and go to the line because she is a good free-throw shooter. We just need to execute our offense."

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley knew of MSU's reputation of running the high-low offense through the post and wanted to counter that.

"We looked to eliminate that," Staley said. "We want to identify the strengths of the other team and take it away. Our post players really bought into it. We played a lot more zone and man, then we switched it up to eliminate the high low. We try to keep our inside players inside."

The Bulldogs trailed 34-28 on a pair of free throws by Kendra Grant with 14:40 remaining in the game, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the game.

South Carolina scored the next four points to go up 38-28 and even though MSU cut the margin back to seven points on a couple of occasions, it never made any other serious charge at overcoming the deficit.

Even with another loss, the Bulldogs liked the strides made since Thursday night's 92-41 loss at Vanderbilt.

"This was a big step," Grant said. "Coming off the type of loss that nobody wants to endure, we had pride."
The Gamecocks jumped out to a 4-0 lead on a pair of free throws each by Aleighsa Welch and Tiffany Mitchell, then Sancheon White extended the margin to 6-0 with a basket.

Sherise Williams scored the first points for Mississippi State at the 16:30 mark of the first half.

Jerica James kept the Bulldogs close during the middle portions of the first half with her seven points, but South Carolina pulled away toward the end of the first 20 minutes with a 3-point play in the post by Welch.

MSU was able to get to within 28-20 at halftime.

Grant led the Bulldogs with 15 points, but James scored a career-high with 14 points.

Welch had 16 points for the Gamecocks.

Mississippi State, which fell to 8-7 overall, hosts Florida on Thursday.

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