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MSU women start SEC play

January 2, 2013

Mississippi State women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer exhibits an intense style at courtside. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

The process continues for the Mississippi State women's basketball team as it enters Southeastern Conference play tonight.

MSU coach Vic Schaefer would like to be further along and more prepared as the Bulldogs look to challenge the Vanderbilt Commodores on the road, but consistency remained an issue as the non-conference part of the schedule came to a close.

There were games where MSU started the game slow and had to come from behind, then there were others where the Bulldogs had a good start and had to hold on at the end.

In his first season as coach, Schaefer is teaching a certain way to do things and he's hoping some of those traits and characteristics are beginning to stick, especially now that SEC play begins.

"It's understanding when the lights come on and you have Mississippi State across your chest, there is a level of expectation of how you are going to play and represent this university," Schaefer said after a win over Northwestern State.

Even though MSU had a 8-5 record in non-conference games and sport a five-game winning streak, it has been a struggle to get there.

Five different players have led the Bulldogs in scoring and Schaefer has been puzzled at times with why one player can't build on what they have done in the previous game.

"Every game it seems like someone new who steps up for us," Schaefer said. "One kid can't put one back-to-back. You are trying to stack some games and develop some consistency."

One of those player Schaefer believes can be a key moving forward this season is sophomore Martha Alwal.

Alwal, who has recorded two-straight double-doubles, averages 12 points per game for MSU and an SEC-leading 9.7 rebounds per outing.

Sophomore Kendra Grant is the top scorer for the Bulldogs with 13.2 points per game.

Schaefer said MSU is made up of "a bunch of nice kids" and enjoys the time with the squad off the court.

He's looking for some toughness when the Bulldogs take the court.

"When the lights come on, I need for the sweetness to go away and for an animal to appear for about two hours," Schaefer said.

MSU plays against a Vanderbilt squad that has a 10-3 mark and has won seven-consecutive games at home. Tiffany Clarke paces the Lady Commodore attack with 15.8 points per game, while Christina Foggie averages 15.7 points per outing.

The tip from Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tenn., is set for 7 p.m. with the radio broadcast to be heard on WNMQ-FM 103.1.

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