STARKVILLE –Mississippi State women’s basketball coach Vic Schaefer has been encouraging junior grant Kendra Grant to get off to a fast start in games.
Grant did just that Sunday afternoon.
Grant tied a career high with 23 points to spark a high-powered Bulldog offensive attack that knocked off New Orleans 111-38 in the Humphrey Coliseum.
State’s total tied the 1976-77 squad for the third-most points in a game, and it was the highest point total since the 1993 squad scored 115 points in a Nov. 30 win against Belhaven.
The 73-point margin of victory ranks second only to the 1986 squad’s school-record 82-point differential in a 117-35 victory against Judson College.
The dominant performance moved the Bulldogs to 3-0 on the season.
“We are still teaching and coaching the little things,” Schaefer said. “Our kids were ready to play. Kendra was outstanding. She was knocking everything down. That can be her on a regular basis. She got us off to a great start.
“When she started making shots, it carried over to the rest of the team.”
MSU shot 54.1 percent from the floor and held a plus-15 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs grabbed 30 steals and forced a school-record 45 turnovers.
After getting hot in the second half in the first two contests, Grant was on fire out of the gate, notching 14 first-half points on 6-of-6 shooting from the floor. Grant hit early back-to-back 3-point baskets as the Bulldogs sprinted to a 25-2 advantage less than seven minutes into the contest.
“Her early play really got everybody going on offense,” Schaefer said. “She opened the game by making everything that really gave everybody some confidence. She had been playing really well in the second half of games this year. I told her in the pre-game, we wanted to see that for both halves.”
Grant was ready to honor her coach’s request.
“I took coach’s advice to heart,” Grant said. “I really wanted to go out there and show that I can play well for two halves. It felt like the basket was wide open today. I wanted to show that I make those kinds of plays in the first half, too. So far this year I had been a second-half player.”
The Bulldogs were never in any danger after the strong opening push. MSU converted 22-of-38 shots from the field for 57.9 percent shooting from the field and led 61-23 at halftime.
“We got out of the press and forced just as many turnovers,” Schaefer said. “I was pleased with the energy and the effort. Thirty steals and 45 turnovers mean that you are playing hard. There are still some things that we aren’t doing well.
“We gave up too many open looks. We are really good at out-of-bounds plays, but sometimes we don’t find the open person on some of those.”
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 40 of 74 shots from the field (54.1 percent), 5 of 11 shots from 3-point range (45.5 percent) and 26 of 31 shots from the foul line (83.9 percent). The Privateers hit 16 of 43 shots from the field (37.2 percent), 3 of 9 shots from 3-point range (33.3 percent) and 3 of 6 shots from the foul line (50.0 percent).
MSU held a 40-25 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 28 assists and 13 turnovers, while the Privateers had nine assists and 45 turnovers.
The Bulldogs placed seven players in double figures. Grant was followed by Martha Awal (17 points), Dominique Dillingham (15 points), Breanna Richardson (14 points), Sherise Williams (11 points), Katia May (10 points) and Savannah Carter (10 points).
Carter posted her first double-double in the Maroon and White, as she also had a team-high 10 rebounds, including six on the offensive end. The Tulsa, Okla., native added five steals and seven assists. May had her first career double-double as well, tying her career-high 11 assists she set in the season opener at Houston and also adding four steals. Dillingham added six steals.
UNO (0-3) received 10 points from Ariele Davis.
MSU continues the early four-game homestand Thursday, hosting Tennessee Tech at 7 p.m. Bully’s Kidz Kourt and the doors open an hour prior to tip.
(From MSU Media Relations)