The Bulldogs opened the scoring with an open shot from Carnecia Williams, who was assisted by Martha Alwal. Later, Alwal capitalized on an open look during a transition play following a rebound from Katia May.
Williams followed her first shot with three more baskets and two free throws, allowing the Lady 'Dogs to open up a 14-6 advantage early in the game.
The Lady Tigers outscored the Lady Bulldogs over the course of the next few minutes and closed the gap to a two point lead for the Lady 'Dogs, 16-14 around the ten minute mark.
Mississippi State then fell behind by one point to Savannah State, but Kendra Grant regained the lead for the Lady Bulldogs with a layup.
With five minutes remaining in the half, Grant helped MSU regain the lead again after the Lady Bulldogs fell behind by three points. She started the rally by drawing a foul after making a bucket. She completed the old-fashioned three-point score by making her free throw. She followed that play with a transition layup that pulled her team ahead by two.
Darriel Gaynor closed out the half with a two-point jumper that was taken around the one second mark. Her shot stood and allowed Mississippi State to end the half up 35-29.
Carnecia Williams started the second half just like the first, scoring on a three-point play within the first minute.
After forcing a shot clock violation, the Lady Bulldogs extended their lead to thirteen, 42-29, thanks to free throws by Grant and Williams.
Savannah State, at around the 11-minute mark, got the lead down to eight, 50-42, thanks to the scoring of Ezinne Kalu and Erin Houge.
But over the course of the next three minutes, MSU outscored Savannah State 8-3 thanks to Kendra Grant and Martha Alwal, who combined for six of the eight points, to pull ahead 58-45.
Mississippi State held onto their big lead the rest of the way and finished out the night with a 70-55 win over Savannah State.
Rebounds, points in the paint, and second chance points all contributed greatly to the Lady Bulldogs' victory. Mississippi State outrebounded Savannah State 43-23. Down low. the Lady Bulldogs scored 42 points in the paint to the Tigers' 24. Additionally, Schaefer's squad led 18-1 in second chance points.
Leading the scoring for the Lady Bulldogs was Carnecia Williams, with 26 points. Kendra Grant followed with 16 points and led the team with 15 rebounds. Mississippi State shot 48% from the field, while Savannah State posted 36.7%. At the free throw line Mississippi State was 18-26 (69.2%).
Post-game, Coach Schaefer was obviously pleased with the win, although he felt that his team could have played a little harder.
"You want to coach a kid's mind, not their heart," said Schaefer. "I found myself tonight coaching a few kids' heart."
Two that needed no coaching of their heats were Grant and William, both of whom played with great effort.
"I thought Carnecia Williams and Kendra Grant were outstanding tonight," said Schaefer. "We don't win the game without those two."
Aside from the head coach's push for more effort, he stressed the faith he had in his young players to answer the bell.
"I do have a lot of confidence in those kids," said the head coach. "I have it for one reason, because those kids care."
Mississippi State's next home game is against Florida Atlantic on Friday, December 7th at 7 pm.
Carew Ferguson is a feature writer for the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.