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SMITH COLUMN: MSU women need to build upon success

January 30, 2013

Smith

It wasn't fun getting beat 81-33, 100-47, 62-42 and 92-41 in Southeastern Conference play.

The Mississippi State women's team decided to do something about it.

After a struggle to even get things done in the first half against the Ole Miss Rebels at Humphrey Coliseum, the Bulldogs shook themselves and pulled off a 72-57 victory.

MSU coach Vic Schaefer jumped on his team pretty good at halftime because of the way it played in the first half against Ole Miss.

The Bulldogs responded with one of their best halves of basketball this season.

Even though MSU struggled in the first half, Schaefer could see better things coming because his squad had two good days of practice leading up to the game against its biggest rival.

"A lot of things go into victory and our kids paid the price," Schaefer said. "They bounced back and accepted some challenges from the coaches.
"At some point, enough is enough and that's what we talked about. You've got to stand up and fight. For me, it's a pride thing. There's no one more disappointed than me with the way things are going because I am responsible. We've got to get it done every possession and it's got to be a battle."

Schaefer is not going to use playing in the SEC as an excuse. He doesn't like to lose, no matter who the opponent. He is one of the most competitive people you will ever run across.

That's the message he is trying to deliver every day with the Bulldogs.

"Those are great kids and I'm trying to teach them to be competitors," Schaefer said. "I thought (Sunday) they made a step in that direction at least for a day. For a change, I felt like we were going to be the aggressor and take the fight to them.

"I'm proud of our kids for bouncing back (from the Texas A&M loss). They were resilient. It's no fun standing out there having what's happened to them a couple of times and you've got to be proud of our kids for having some guts, some heart and responding like our staff has asked them to. We don't change. There is one way to do this. There is a right way and we're going to keep doing it."

Now MSU must continue to increase the effort level that helped it get the first league victory of the season and find a way to have success at one of the toughest places to play in the country. The Bulldogs enter Thompson-Bowling Arena on Thursday night for a game against the Tennessee Lady Volunteers.

Even though the Lady Vols have had a change in leadership with Holly Warlick. taking over for the legendary Pat Summitt, Tennessee continues to win.

The Lady Vols have records of 16-4 after losing to Notre Dame Monday.
Schaefer was pleased with the accomplishment of Sunday, but Monday was a new day and in the SEC, there's not much time for celebration.

"Our kids did a good job of taking a scout and a game plan, then going and executing it," Schaefer said. "You know what? I want to see it again. They've shown now that they can do it. You know how it is. Once you cross that line, there's no going back. The lessons don't stop being taught here.

"We're going to hold them accountable and make sure they get it, learn it, get it right, then it becomes instinct and you don't have to teach it anymore."

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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