After a nine-point opening run by the Shorter Hawks, the Bulldogs defense was fortuitous with quick steals on defense closing the lead to 13-8.
The Lady Bulldogs's Shamia Robinson led the team during the run with four points.
The Bulldogs continued their lockdown style of defense in the first half, recording seven steals and three blocked shots. But Shorter took advantage of fourteen turnovers by the lady Bulldogs to score ten points to keep the lead.
At the three-minute mark, the Lady Bulldogs began pressing, which created one back court violation and two steals. Additionally, senior guard Darriel Gaynor provided a spark with one steal and two layups all within thirty seconds, to give the Lady Bulldogs a 25-24 lead at the half.
The Lady Bulldogs continued their full court press in the second half of play, with the Dogs stealing the ball three times in the first two minutes of play.
“That’s how we’re going to play, you’re going to see that every night," said Schaefer. "People that come to the Hump know they’re going to be pressed. That’s an attitude and a way of life for us.”
Schaefer’s team began capitalizing in transition with four fast break points in the fifteenth minute. The Lady Bulldogs also used their size advantage in the paint with 6-foot-4 Martha Alwal recording one block, one steal, and two points in the middle of the second half.
Shorter continued to fight and came within one point with 4:30 left in the second half, but a three-point shot from Darriel Gaynor kept the Dogs ahead.
State's suffocating defense and timely free throws from Katia May down the stretch preserved the 55-49 victory.
Mississippi State finished the night outrebounding the Hawks of Shorter 55-46.
Additionally, the Bulldogs recorded 14 steals.
Katia May and Carnecia Williams led the team in scoring with 13 points each. The Bulldogs shot 21-64 (32.8%) from the field and were 12-22 (54.5%) at the free throw line. Martha Alwal led the team in blocks and rebounds with three and eight respectively.
All eleven players on the MSU roster played 10 or more minutes in the game, with 8 of the 11 scoring points.
Overall, Schaefer was pleased with the first-game effort on the defensive end of the court.
“We have a lot to work on this time of year and there should be, but we are going to be a tough team to play," he said.