“(Our offensive production) comes from how we practice,” MSU junior guard Kendra Grant said. “We have a lot of different options now. Lucky for us, everybody on the team can produce.”
MSU won its fourth straight game to improve to 12-1 overall. The Bulldogs can match last season’s overall win total by beating Mississippi Valley State in their final non-conference game later this month.
“After the first 10 minutes, I thought we played really well,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “I think I have a tired basketball team. We have done a lot in a short period of time. We have played more games than anybody in the (Southeastern Conference). We are now going to have five days away from basketball and I think that is good for both our players and coaches.“
The Bulldogs had some defensive struggles as both teams got off to good offensive starts. MSU held small leads of 14-12 and 21-19 before finding the necessary separation on the defensive end.
A 6-0 run stretched the MSU lead to 30-21 on a jumper by Dominique Dillingham with 8:16 left. A follow-up 17-1 run stretched the lead to 47-25 with 3:10 left before halftime.
“I think of (Dillingham) as our secret assassin,” Schaefer said. “She had 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, three rebounds, three assists and three steals. That is the stat line for most players in a 40-minute game and she did it in 20 minutes. She plays hard and is a competitor. No one is going to take away her joy in playing the game.”
The Bulldogs shot 54.1 percent from the field in the opening half and led 58-31 at halftime.
MSU continues to attack offensively, driving the ball in the paint. For a second straight game, MSU made it to the free throw line more than 40 times, hitting 36 of 44 foul shots.
“We shoot free throws like six out of seven days in practice,” said MSU junior center Martha Alwal, who notched her 23rd career double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds. “We have been playing some teams with players smaller than we are and we have done a good job of taking advantage of that.”
Alwal’s 23rd-career double-double tied her for the lead among active SEC players.
The Bulldogs scored the first 11 points of the second half to quickly build a 69-31 advantage slightly more than two minutes into the game’s final half.
MSU extended the lead to 80-45 on a layup by Katia May and later hit the 100-point mark on a free throw by Sherise Williams with 6:20 left.
“We are getting some great point guard play right now and that is a key for us,” Schaefer said. “(Katia May) and (Jerica James) combined for 12 points, 12 assists and two turnovers. Then when we get Martha going, we have capabilities on the offensive end.”
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 35 of 67 shots from the field (52.2 percent), 3 of 4 shots from 3-point range (75.0 percent) and 36 of 44 shots from the foul line (81.8 percent). The Lions hit 22 of 52 shots from the field (42.3 percent), 6 of 14 shots from 3-point range (42.9 percent) and 7 of 12 shots from the foul line (58.3 percent).
MSU held a 44-25 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 21 assists and 11 turnovers, while the Lions had 10 assists and 29 turnovers.
Alwal was followed in the scoring column by Grant with 18 points, Dillingham with 17 points and Breanna Richardson with 14 points.
SLU (1-10) received 15 points from Elizabeth Styles, 11 points from Symone Miller, 11 points from Peaches Anderson and 11 points from Aja Gibson.
MSU will now take time off for Christmas before returning to the Humphrey Coliseum for a 7 p.m. start against Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 30.