State shows second half improvement

Mississippi State's Katia May dribbles past Keke Veal of Louisiana-Lafayette in the first half. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Mississippi State’s Katia May dribbles past Keke Veal of Louisiana-Lafayette in the first half. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

STARKVILLE – Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer was not happy with his squad’s first half performance Wednesday night against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Bulldogs were clinging to a one-point lead at halftime playing in their fourth game in six days.

But MSU responded to the challenge outscoring the Ragin’ Cajuns 50-24 in the second half for a 78-51 victory to move to 8-1 on the year.

“One of the words we talked about at halftime was ’embarrassing’,” Schaefer said. “We had another nice crowd again. We’re trying to build that and entertain people and it was not in my opinion very entertaining in the first half. In the second half it was a different team.”

The Bulldogs shot just 27.3-percent from the field in the first half but knocked down 13-of-28 shots in the second half. State also forced 20 turnovers in the game outscoring the Ragin’ Cajuns 16-2 off turnovers alone.

“We got reamed out for about four minutes (during halftime),” said MSU junior center Martha Alwal. “Coach’s face was just red. He really yelled at us and told us to go out there and play harder and that we were better than what we were showing. He was really big on that so we went out in the second half and played a lot better.”

Dominique Dillingham led the Bulldogs off the bench with a career-high 19 points. The true freshman was 7-of-13 shooting in 26 minutes of action.

“Growing up, it was just how I was raised to play hard,” Dillingham said. “I wasn’t always the best and I always just had to play hard.”

Alwal notched her second double-double of the season and the 21st of her career. She finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Kendra Grant added 12 points for Mississippi State but could be in a struggle to maintain her starting shooting guard spot.

“(Grant and Dillingham) have got a good little battle for who’s going to be our starting two guard over the next two days,” Schaefer said. “Dominique has really played well. Kendra had one rebound in three games out in Florida and I’m not happy about it. She’s got to answer the bell with that. Dominique is a big rebounder so we’ve got a good little competition there.”

Louisiana-Lafayette (4-3) finished the game shooting 26.6-percent from the floor making just 4-of-25 of its 3-point attempts.

Jaylyn Gordon was the only Ragin’ Cajuns player in double figures with 10 points in 29 minutes off the bench.

The Bulldogs return to action Saturday hosting Alabama State at 7 p.m.

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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