STARKVILLE – Mississippi State improved to 12-1 on the year in dominating fashion Friday night with a 109-57 victory over Southeastern Louisiana.
The Bulldogs were effective on both ends of the floor shooting 52.2-percent from the floor and forcing 29 turnovers.
“We’re 12-1 at Christmas, that’s a great feeling and a great accomplishment for our group,” said MSU coach Vic Schaefer. “I’m excited for them and I’m looking forward to five days with no basketball.”
MSU converted those turnovers into 40 points and have outscored its last three opponents 112-21 in points off turnovers alone.
“We’ve got some things to clean up on the defensive end,” Schaefer said. “But when you’re scoring this many points, I guess you can’t have everything. I tell them all the time that I want them to play perfect. We talk about practicing and playing perfect. I know that’s probably not going to happen but we try to keep them focused and grounded on the important things and obviously defense in the SEC is what’s going to win basketball games for you.”
The Bulldogs lead the country in both free throws made and attempted. That trend continued knocking down 36 of their 44 attempts (81.8-percent) from the charity stripe.
Martha Alwal notched her 23rd career double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Alwal was 6-of-13 from the field and 12-of-13 from the free throw line.
“I think the biggest thing has been the people we’ve been playing have been a lot smaller than I am,” Alwal said. “I’ve used that to the best of my ability and advantage. I think that’s why I’ve been getting this many points the last couple of games.”
Kendra Grant added 18 points while Dominique Dillingham scored 17 points in 20 minutes off the bench. Breanna Richardson chipped in 14 points as all 10 players who saw action scored for State.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a nine point lead less than three minutes into the contest only to see Southeastern Louisiana cut the margin down to two at the 10-minute mark. Mississippi State went on a 37-12 run to close out the first half leading 58-31.
“Coach wasn’t impressed with our defensive effort and we weren’t either,” Grant said. “We just wanted to come out hard in the second half and not give them what they wanted. We took them out of their offense for the most part.”
It was more of the same in the second half as the Bulldogs outscored Southeastern Louisiana 51-26 in the final 20 minutes handing the Lady Lions their 10th consecutive loss.
Southeastern Louisiana (1-10) shot 42.3-percent from the field but had four players foul out.
Elizabeth Stles paced the Lady Lions with 15 points while Aja Gibson, Symone Miller and Peaches Anderson each added 11 points.
MSU will have one final non-conference matchup Dec. 30 at home against Mississippi Valley State at 7 p.m.
“I’m excited for my players and my staff to get five days (off),” Schaefer said. “They need it. I could care less if they spend a day in the gym to be honest with you. I think they need some time to step back and recover a little bit.”