By John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Their teams have both been struggling in their first SEC seasons, but acting Ole Miss coach Brett Frank took a moment to praise the man who defeated his Rebels, 72-57, on Sunday.
“I do admire the job coach (Vic) Schaefer is doing, which is the same thing we’re trying to do, to change the culture,” Frank said. “It was a good atmosphere for them today and I’m looking forward to their visit to Oxford on Feb. 14. Hopefully we’ll have another great battle.”
MSU’s leading scorer, Kendra Grant, was challenged to start shooting more – and she rose to the challenge on Sunday.
Just 2 of 5 at halftime, she finished 8 of 12 and scored 20 points.
“The coaches had been on me because I had not been taking as many shots,” Grant said. “So today I wanted to take some more shots and fortunately they were falling.”
At a crucial moment in the second half, Grant scored eight points – three baskets and two free throws – to extend MSU’s lead from 44-40 to 52-42.
Player of the game
Martha Alwal matched her career high with 23 points, led the game with 12 rebounds and blocked five shots.
“Martha and Carnecia (Williams) were incredible today on both ends of the floor,” Schaefer said. “Martha blocked shots but there’s no telling how many more shots she altered. After a few blocks, that gets inside the heads of opposing shooters.”
Mississippi State visits last week’s No, 9 team, Tennessee, on Thursday. The Bulldogs have never beaten the Lady Vols.
Ole Miss is at home on Thursday against Arkansas.
“Our first SEC win as a coaching staff with this program, we’re really proud it came against Ole Miss.” – Vic Schaefer, Mississippi State head coach.