STARKVILLE, Miss. - Carnecia Williams and Katia May scored 13 points each, and a stifling Mississippi State defense forced 26 turnovers as the Bulldogs opened the Vic Schaefer era with a 55-49 exhibition win against Shorter 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, tallied nine points over the game's final 20 minutes.
Williams also pulled in six rebounds and added a block in the contest.
"Carnecia is a tough kid," 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 on the night, including an 18.2-percent tally from three-point range.
Mississippi State connected on 21-of-64 shots (32.8 percent) in the contest.
Shorter opened the game with a 9-0 run and extended the lead to 10 on a Karisma Boykin three-pointer with 14:16 left before halftime.
The Bulldogs slowly began to chip away at the Shorter lead. With two minutes left before half, Williams sank back-to-back baskets to trim the Lady Hawk advantage to one at 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 after Shorter's Ieshia Alexander ended the half with a pair of free throws.
"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 would try to make a run. After shooting 27.8 percent from the floor in the opening half, the Bulldogs connected on 39.3-percent of their shots over 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 knocked down 29-percent of their shots in the first half.
State pushed the lead out to five to open the second half. The Lady Hawks trimmed the lead to two before Kendra Grant knocked down two of her seven points to extend the advantage back to four at 45-41.
Shorter trimmed the lead to 45-44 with 4:42 left to play, but Gaynor responded with State's lone three-pointer of the game to put MSU up four with 2:42 remaining.
Gaynor, a Las Vegas native, just missed double figures as she scored nine points in the contest.
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.
Boykin paced Shorter with 14 points, and Kristin Nash added 12 in the contest. Shelby Farrer grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
State claimed a 55-46 advantage on the glass, including pulling down 21 offensive boards.
Schaefer's squad officially opens the season next Friday, hosting Houston in a 7 p.m. tip at the Hump.