STARKVILLE, Miss. – In her Mississippi State debut Monday, true freshman Breanna Richardson put on quite a show.
Richardson scored 16 points as MSU knocked off Shorter University 75-44 in a women’s basketball exhibition game played at the Humphrey Coliseum.
Returning starter Martha Alwal posted a double-double with a game-high 17 points and 13 rebounds. Fellow returnee Kendra Grant added 11 points, while newcomers Savannah Carter, a junior, and freshman Dominique Dillingham added 9 points each.
“After practicing and working so hard, it was good to get out there and play an opponent,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “We did a lot of things well. Our fans got to see some of the new faces. We are playing a lot of freshmen. We will need them to grow up quickly.”
The Bulldogs were never threatened by the Division II-member Hawks. MSU displayed its frantic style of play on both ends of the floor. With so many new faces in the lineup, the team will form a new identity this season. Schaefer wants to force the issue on both ends of the floor.
“We are going to go fast,” Richardson said. “I know that is what the coaches brought me in here to do. I am supposed to provide a spark and hopefully that will rub off on some of the other players. Anytime we are down, there is someone here that is going to push us to keep going and to keep doing things the right way.”
Schaefer was most pleased with the squad’s defensive effort. MSU held Shorter to 22 points in each half of the contest. The Hawks only connected on 4 of 28 3-point attempts and were harassed into 20 turnovers.
“The defense was really good,” Schaefer said. “We got into the passing lanes and forced the kind of numbers we want to force. Being able to hold them to 22 points in each half is a good deal. That is about where we want to be defensively.”
The Bulldogs used the early defensive pressure to quickly build a 9-2 lead. A layup by Richardson capped 14-1 run as the Maroon and White advantage moved to 25-9.
MSU forced 12 first-half turnovers and led 38-22 at the intermission.
In the second half, an offensive rebound and putback by Alwal ran the lead to 44-22 with 18:35 remaining. MSU would lead by as many as 33 and never less than 20 the rest of the way.
MSU held a 49-37 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 13 assists and 16 turnovers, while the Hawks had six assists and 20 turnovers.
For Shorter, Lindsey Crawford posted a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
MSU will open its second season under Schaefer when the Bulldogs take on the University of Houston. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. from Hofheinz Pavilion. The MSU home opener is Nov. 13 against Jackson State at 7 p.m.