November 4, 2012 1:00:56 AM
STARKVILLE -- Carnecia Williams and Katia May scored 13 points each, and a stifling Mississippi State University defense forced 26 turnovers in a 55-49 exhibition win against Shorter on Friday night at Humphrey Coliseum.
Williams, a Memphis, Tenn., native, scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half, while May, the York, Ala., standout, had nine points in the final 20 minutes.
Williams also had six rebounds and a blocked shot.
"Carnecia is a tough kid," MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. "I like her toughness and her desire to please. She's the kind of kid you're proud of."
Schaefer's hard-pressing defense paid off, as the Bulldogs limited Shorter to 25.8-percent shooting, including an 18.2-percent tally from 3-point range. MSU was 21 of 64 (32.8 percent).
Shorter opened the game with a 9-0 run and extended the lead to 10 on a Karisma Boykin 3-pointer with 14:16 left before halftime.
MSU then chipped away at the deficit. With two minutes left before half, Williams sank back-to-back baskets to trim the margin to 22-21.
Senior Darriel Gaynor gave MSU a 25-22 lead with consecutive layups, and the Bulldogs took a 25-24 advantage to the intermission.
"I think we played hard. You don't force 26 turnovers standing around. I'm encouraged with how hard we played at times, and I appreciate our kids' effort," Schaefer said. "This time of year there is a lot to work on, but I'm pleased with our effort."
MSU maintained the advantage throughout the second half, answering every time Shorter tried to make a run. After shooting 27.8 percent from the floor in the opening half, the Bulldogs connected on 39.3 percent in the final 20 minutes.
It wasn't just the offense that stepped up in the second half, though. The defense locked down even more, limiting Shorter to 7-of-31 shooting (22.6 percent) after the Lady Hawks shot 29 percent in the first half.
MSU pushed the lead out to five to open the second half. The Lady Hawks trimmed the lead to two before Kendra Grant scored two of her seven points to extend the advantage to 45-41.
Shorter trimmed the lead to 45-44 with 4 minutes, 42 seconds left to play, but Gaynor (nine points) responded with MSU's lone 3-pointer to put MSU up four with 2:42 remaining.
A Williams bucket gave MSU a 50-44 lead with 1:35 to go, and May sealed the win as she hit 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch.
Martha Alwal paced the Bulldogs with eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Williams and sophomore Shamia Robinson each had seven rebounds.
Boykin paced Shorter with 14 points, and Kristin Nash added 12. Shelby Farrer grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
MSU had a 55-46 rebounding advantage thanks in part to 21 offensive rebounds.
MSU will open the season at 7 p.m. Friday when it plays host to the University of Houston at Humphrey Coliseum.