Carnecia Williams (23) puts up a shot against an Alabama defender Thursday night. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Mississippi State Bulldogs played well in the first half of Thursday's women's basketball game against Alabama.
As good as MSU looked in the first half and leading by 10 points at the break, head coach Vic Schaefer couldn't help but feel it could be even better.
Schaefer had that same feeling at Ole Miss two weeks ago.
"(The lead) was 10 (points) and should have been 15 (on Thursday)," Schaefer said. "It was eight at Ole Miss and should have been 12 or 14. We talked about that a little bit and it wasn't just patting them on the back at halftime. I wanted to see them come out and throw the first punch so to speak in the second half."
The Bulldogs came through for their coach.
MSU went on a 13-0 run in the second half to put the game away and went on to defeat Alabama 75-51 at Humphrey Coliseum.
"I liked our competitiveness and we were aggressive on both ends," Schaefer said. "We were dominating with our heart and that's what we had on the board before the game. Dominating with your heart encompasses everything that you do."
With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 12-14 overall and 4-9 in the Southeastern Conference.
MSU forward Carnecia Williams knew the second 20 minutes was going to be key for of her team.
"The second half has killed up (in the past)," Williams said. "We knew the second half was going to be very important (Thursday night)."
After a layup by Daisha Simmons of the Crimson Tide to bring the score to 42-30, the Bulldogs went on their 13-0 run and pushed their advantage to 55-30 with 12:16 remaining in the game.
MSU used a strong defense all of the way through by holding Alabama to 26.2 percent shooting (17-of-65) from the field for the game.
Crimson Tide head coach Wendell Hudson said the Bulldogs did a good job of keeping his squad from doing what it does best.
"Mississippi State did a really good job of playing the way they needed to play," Hudson said. "They put a lot of pressure on us and we didn't do a good job of shooting when had open looks. That's why the shooting percentage is where it is right now.
"On nights we shoot well, we have a chance, but when we don't, we don't have a chance. That's what we are. We've got to shoot well from the perimeter and I'm not talking about 3-point shots, but were a jump-shooting team. When we're playing well from the perimeter, we can cause some trouble."
Alabama's shooting dwindled as the game progressed.
After only making 11-of-40 shots from the field in the first half for 27.5 percent, the Tide struggled to 24 percent in the second half on 6-of-25 shooting.
Early in the game, MSU sophomore Kendra Grant took a charge and got a thumbs up from Schaefer. He also gave her a high-five after coming to courtside for a timeout.
"We have to get back to being disruptive on defense," Schaefer said. "The only chance we have is being disruptive on defense. (We need to) keep teams from doing what they are comfortable in doing."
Grant, Martha Alwal and Carnecia Williams scored nine points each as the Bulldogs had a 38-28 advantage at halftime.
Carnecia Williams and Martha Alwal accounted for the first nine points of the game as MSU took an 8-5 lead.
The Bulldogs held a 12-point advantage twice in the first half with the first of 23-11 coming at the 9:14 mark on a 3-point field goal by Grant, then of 38-26 with 27 seconds left on a free throw by Sherise Williams.
Carnecia Williams led MSU with 25 points, which is one off her career high. She made 8-of-12 shots from the field.
"I thought it was one of Williams' better games and she shot the ball really well," Hudson said.
Alwal had another double-double for the Bulldogs with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Grant also scored in double digits with 11 points.
Kaneisha Horn scored 16 points for the Crimson Tide, who fell to 12-14 overall and 2-11 in the league.
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Mississippi State's next game takes it to South Carolina on Sunday.