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Bulldogs battle to 59-58 victory

December 7, 2012

Vic Schaefer

The Mississippi State women's basketball team has battled hard, but still been on the wrong side of a couple of games this season.
On Friday night, MSU found a way to correct.

The Bulldogs held on to to beat the Florida Atlantic Owls 59-58 in Humphrey Coliseum.

"I'm proud of our kids winning one with our defense when we lost two that way," MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. "Give our kids all the credit. You can say we tried to give it away, and that may be true, but we still battled and still had some toughness down the stretch to find a way to win."

With a 1-point lead with less than a minute, the Bulldogs (4-5) held possession of the ball. A Martha Alwal turnover gave it back to the Owls with 15 seconds remaining. FAU took a timeout to talk things over.

"I could tell Martha was distraught because she made a bad pass," Schaefer said. "I said 'hey no problem. We're going to defend them one time just like we did against Louisiana Tech. We are going to get a stop and we are going to win the game.' That's the way you have to approach it."

The Owls (5-3) came out of the timeout and tried to set up a shot for their best player.

"We drew up something for Takia (Brooks)," FAU head coach Kellie Lewis-Jay said. "We had to get the ball in Takia's hands. They've got some big girls. We did a good job switching out on them, but we kind of had a breaking point. We definitely had it in the person's hands that we wanted it in."

Morgan Robinson missed a 3-pointer and the Bulldogs retained possession with less than 2 seconds to go.

"Defend," MSU sophomore guard Kendra Grant said. "As we all know, coach is a defensive-minded person. (We're focused on) just making big plays on the defensive end."

Alwal inbounded and threw it down the court as a teammate scooped it up to run out the remaining time on the clock.

The Bulldogs made it tough on themselves as they had a season-high 35 turnovers.

"That is 70 points you don't even have a chance to score," Schaefer said. "This isn't going to be the first time we sit in here and have 30-plus turnovers."

MSU trailed 36-32 at the half after Brooks scored a bucket at the buzzer to give her 16 points in the first half.

"We just needed to make adjustments," Bulldog freshman forward Sherise Williams said. "When we made them, it kind of worked in our favor."

MSU shot 23-of-46 from the field for 50 percent. The Bulldogs did not attempt a -point shot. The Owls were 22-of-75 from the field for 29.3 percent.

The Owls were led by Brooks's 27 points. She also had seven rebounds and seven steals.

Williams led the Bulldogs with a career-high 15 points. Alwal had her fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Grant and Carnecia Williams each had 10 points for the Bulldogs.

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