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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Morgan William knew she had to make a change in the second half. After scoring five points and committing three turnovers in the first half, William rebounded to play a more aggressive and assertive role in the second half of the No. 3 Mississippi State women’s basketball team’s 78-75 overtime loss to No. 22 Kentucky before a crowd of 5,244 at Memorial Gymnasium. William committed only one more turnovers in 24 minutes in the second half. She also had 20 points, five assists, four rebounds, and two blocked shots, which doubled her total entering the game.
“I just attacked the basket,” William said. “I looked for my shot and I looked to get to the rim. I was being passive in the first half, so I figured it was up to me to step up in the second half for my team.”
William attacked the basket consistently in the second half, either getting to the rim or pulling up for mid-range jump shots. She also used her speed to dart into the gaps to work herself free for open shots.
“I thought that first half we had a lot of issues with the point guard position,” MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. “I thought Morgan (William) played very well in the second half and we ironed some of that out.”
William stayed strong despite picking up her fourth foul with 5 minutes, 21 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Her drive with 8.0 seconds left tied the game at 67 and set the stage for overtime. The final seconds weren’t without drama, though, as Evelyn Akhator appeared to make contact with William on a drive to the basket. Teaira McCowan then blocked Akhator’s shot to send the game to the extra session. McCowan blocked the shot despite having four fouls. In the overtime, William also had a runner that tied the game at 73, but the Bulldogs couldn’t string together one more positive possession to build a cushion.
“Basically, Coach just told me to guard the ball, attack the basket because we ended up giving them bonus, and just put our heads down and attack like they were doing us,” William said. “We had all the fouls, so we weren’t playing aggressive enough. We weren’t getting to the rim, but once we started getting to the rim we made them run.”
Lost in the shuffle of the drama in the fourth quarter and overtime was a 3-pointer by William at the end of the first quarter. The shot initially was ruled good, but the officials used video review to overturn the call. Turnover problems
Lost in MSU’s fast start — it led 10-2 and by seven three times in the first quarter — were 12 turnovers in the first half. That total was more than 10 games the Bulldogs have played this season, including an 11-turnover effort against Texas A&M. MSU committed the turnovers without being pressed and seeing very little half-court trap. Chinwe Okorie had three turnovers (one on a charge and one on a travel), while William committed three. That total was more than 18 games she has played this season.
For the game, MSU had a season-high 22. It had committed 20 only one time (Hawaii) entering the game. The Bulldogs entered the game averaging 13.2 turnovers per game.
“I didn’t even know they had 22,” Kentucky senior guard Makayla Epps said. “One of the things that was on our scouting report about Mississippi State is they force their opponent into 20-plus turnovers. We have done a really good job this year of taking care of the ball. That is just a shout out to everybody on the team for doing their job.
“Coach told us ball security and taking care of the ball and executing our plays would be big in this game. Morgan William had four (turnovers). That is very uncharacteristic of her. I have a lot of respect for her. (Victoria) Vivians had four. That is uncharacteristic, and one of the (other) kids had six. That is just us being in the right place at the right time and moving and being in the right position and working hard to get steals and turn the ball over.”
Schaefer said the Bulldogs tried to do too much with the basketball. That assessment accurately reflected MSU’s four turnovers in overtime. One was a pass that went off the hands of McCowan, one was a lost handle on a drive to the basket, one came on an entry pass to McCowan in the post, and the last one came on Vivians’ drive in which she was called for traveling.
“We had people trying to do things that they didn’t need to do,” Schaefer said. “Again, it was my fault for putting them in those positions. It’s my job as a coach to put them in positions where they can be successful. We can’t turn the ball over like that. We have to take better care of the ball, but that’s how Kentucky is. They’re really handsy, they steal and they do a really good job at it, so you have to take extra care of the ball. We just didn’t do that tonight. I’ve got to do a better job of making sure our kids understand that. Akhator goes off in fourth quarter, overtime
Schaefer credited Kentucky after the game for outhustling and being tougher than his team. He said one of the keys was how his team wasn’t able to handle Akhator, the 6-foot-3 senior forward, who tied for game-high scoring honors with 27 points. She was 11 of 20 from the field and had 16 rebounds, including six on the offensive end.
“We go over one down every day and the way we guarded it tonight, it looked like Ned in the third grade,” Schaefer said. “We didn’t guard it hardly at all. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and I was literally going insane on a couple things we kept doing over and over again. Obviously I didn’t do a very good job of coaching my kids tonight, but this should be about Kentucky. They did a tremendous job tonight and those kids played extremely well and hard and you have to take your hat off to them.”
Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said MSU is one of the few teams in the Southeastern Conference that relies on a player-to-player defense virtually all of the time. Schaefer said the Bulldogs used some zone, but he said very little worked.
“With the way that they play, they give you some driving opportunities,” Mitchell said. “They’re probably the only team in the league that we’ve seen do that. We thought we had an advantage there if we could get the ball to her. We worked hard over the last couple of days to try to get in our mind what we needed to do to win. One of the keys for her was to not post up, sit on the block, and try to play a power game with them. Try to step off the block, get to the high post, and try to step out on the short corner. It was an incredible performance from her.”
Schaefer entered the season with wins against every SEC team except South Carolina and Kentucky. MSU lost to South Carolina 64-61 on Jan. 23 in Columbia, South Carolina. The Gamecocks have won the last nine meetings against the Bulldogs. Kentucky entered the game having won the last 10 meetings against MSU. The Wildcats earned an 83-60 victory against the Bulldogs last season in Athens.
The last meeting in Lexington — a 92-90 double-overtime decision — featured a freshman-record 39 points by Vivians. The Wildcats won on a putback at the buzzer by Epps. The senior guard did it again Thursday night as part of a 22-point night. Missed opportunity
MSU will have to wait until 4 p.m. Sunday, when it plays host to Tennessee at Humphrey Coliseum, for its last chance to earn its first share or outright SEC regular-season title. William said the Bulldogs missed an opportunity to take care of business against the Wildcats.
“It was just an opportunity we missed out on,” William said. “We didn’t handle business, so it is a lost opportunity right now.”
MSU and Kentucky would have loved to continue the pace they set in the first quarter. The Bulldogs led 19-18 after William’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was waved off. MSU shot 8 of 14 from the field (57.1 percent), while Kentucky shot 6 of 13 (46.2 percent). Even though MSU slipped to 5 of 13 in the second quarter, it still shot 48.1 percent for the first 20 minutes. After shooting 5-for-36 against Ole Miss and Georgia, Vivians continued to re-discover her shooting touch. Vivians was 4 of 7 from the field (2 of 3 from 3-point range) and had 10 points in the first quarter. She was coming off a 7-for-19 shooting effort (25 points) in a 72-67 victory against then-No. 23 Texas A&M on Sunday.
Vivians attempted only one shot in eight minutes in the second quarter. She finished 8 of 17 from the field (4 of 9 from 3-point range) and 7 of 19 from the free-throw line. Kentucky weathered the storm for the final 7:59 of the first half after sophomore guard Maci Morris picked up her second foul. She sat out the rest of the half. Taylor Murray helped pick up the slack by scoring 10 points in the first half. The sophomore guard was 3 of 7 from the field and 4 of 6 from the free-throw line. She epitomized the Wildcats’ effort in the first half by attacking MSU point guards William and Jazzmun Holmes.
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – Metamaterial Technologies Inc. (MTI) and its optical filters division, Lamda Guard, announced that it has entered into a new agreement with leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus to validate, certify, and commercialize its laser protection product metaAIR, for aviation. In 2014, MTI signed its first agreement with Airbus to test and tailor metaAIR, which is a flexible metamaterial optical filter, engineered to protect vision against harmful laser beams aimed at aircraft.
Laser strikes on commercial aircraft are rising globally and laser pointers are increasing in power and decreasing in price. Lasers can distract pilots during critical phases of flight and can cause temporary visual impairment. In 2015, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the number of reported laser incidents nearly doubled to 7,703 in commercial aviation. In 2015, there were 1,439 laser incidents reported to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the UK and there were almost 600 reported by Transport Canada.
“We know from facts and conversations with clients that cockpit illuminations are real, immediate and increasing in frequency, and metaAIR will benefit our customers,” said Pascal Andrei, Vice President, Chief Product Security Officer at Airbus. “We also see an increasing number of possible applications for metaAIR, beyond the commercial aircraft division.”
MTI is a great example of Airbus “start-up 2 partner” program led by Elsa Keita from Airbus Corporate Innovation. This program aims at building mutually beneficial partnerships with disruptive innovators and Airbus has been working in a successful and collaborative approach with MTI to accelerate their laser protection solution for the benefit of its customers.
“Our objective is to place Canada and its citizens on innovation’s leading edge. The presence of Airbus here today demonstrates that highly skilled Canadian researchers and entrepreneurs, like those at MTI, are creating innovative solutions to global problems,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Canadian Minister for Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
“We look forward to continuing our relationship with Airbus as we move to commercialize metaAIR. Together we will be able to make a positive impact on the aviation industry around the world,” said Maurice Guitton, MTI Board Chairman.
“Today marks another milestone in our strategic partnership with Airbus. We are given the opportunity to propel our platform technology and learn from some of the top aerospace engineers while understanding the rigours of developing a product for the aerospace industry,” said George Palikaras, MTI Founder and CEO. “metaAIR will provide vision protection to pilots in the aviation industry and can offer solutions in other industries including the military, transportation and glass manufacturers.”
MTI has also developed a partnership with Covestro, one of the world’s leading companies for high-tech polymers. Covestro supplies a custom Bayfol HX photopolymer film for the manufacturing of metaAIR.
“MTI is at the cutting edge of optical applications. They have developed a unique optical filter that is different from anything currently available on the market, and we have been working with them for the last two years to provide a speciality photopolymer material film and support the required volume,” said Thomas Facke, responsible for marketing and business development of photopolymer films at Covestro. “Safety is very important to our company, and we are excited to be a part of this solution.”
On Dec. 21, Gov. Jim Justice announced that I would be his Cabinet Secretary for the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. From that point on, I, like other Cabinet members, have been working every day to do what is right for West Virginia. I have personally devoted an average of 71 hours per week to respond to the governor s marching orders. Those orders are clear: with the state facing desperate times, its leaders needed to come forward and work together to make West Virginia proud. I spent from Dec. 21 to Inauguration Day mapping out a plan to make Military Affairs and Public Safety more efficient. The chief of staff approved this proposed reorganization on Jan. 27. Initially, these changes will reduce Military Affairs and Public Safety from 13 agencies to nine. My plan will unite Homeland Security State Administrative Agency, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center under a single West Virginia Homeland Security entity.
As a next step, a new Division of Corrections Operations will absorb the Regional Jail and Corrections Facility Authority and the divisions of Corrections and Juvenile Services. As this will require legislation, this major change will take additional time. So far, no delegate or senator I have spoken to has raised any concerns. Legislators have instead told me that these changes are long overdue. My reorganization plan also focuses on rented real estate. An initial review shows that Military Affairs and Public Safety pays $1.2 million each year just for administrative offices. I envision a single headquarters for all of Military Affairs and Public Safety, except for the West Virginia State Police, with shared staff and such common office space as conference rooms. This will reduce space and costs. I was on hand to applaud Gov. Justice s State of the State Address, and I support his proposed budget. I hope that in West Virginia, all parties come together and vote to approve it. It is the right thing to do based on a detailed evaluation of the state s financial situation.
I have never been accused of being a yes man. With a degree in accounting and certified as a fraud examiner, I would directly tell the governor and his staff if I did not support the proposed budget. However, I believe in and support the governor s approach to solve the state s financial problems. Our legislators have worked hard over the past three years. They have cut and reduced our state s budget by millions of dollars. In his budget, the governor proposes $26.6 million in responsible cuts. The issue at hand now is: will further cuts affect the function of our government? The answer is not difficult to see after just a month in Charleston. Here are some examples from within Military Affairs and Public Safety:
Citizens across West Virginia are afraid they could lose their local State Police detachments to additional cuts. Previous spending reductions have already forced the State Police to eliminate more than 50 vacant trooper positions. The State Police do not have the funding to train a new trooper cadet class.
The West Virginia National Guard and our Emergency Management team saved lives and delivered immediate relief after last year s devastating flooding. Further cuts could threaten the state s disaster response and weaken ongoing efforts to prepare and lessen the impact of such events. I talked to a state employee that has worked for the State of West Virginia for 19 years. He handles millions of dollars in federal grants. He is making $26,000 per year, has not received a pay raise in over a decade, and his counterparts in surrounding states make 2 to 3 times more. A correctional officer called me crying that it embarrasses him and his family to go to a grocery store and pay with food stamps. The officer never dreamed that he would work full-time and qualify for food stamps and would need them.
Cutting over $450 million in spending may balance the budget, but the damage to state government would take years to recover from. As for the proposed revenue enhancements, I believe we need to look at the end result proposed by the governor: these measures will allow West Virginia to eliminate the state s personal income tax. I m from Wood County. I know that it has hundreds of retirees, from teachers to corporate executives, who have purchased homes in Florida. They live there six months and one day to avoid West Virginia s state income tax. Most of these men and women love West Virginia, and moved to Florida strictly as a real estate investment and to avoid paying West Virginia personal income taxes.
We have so much to offer in West Virginia. Our state should be seen as a place where people can work, live, and then retire income tax-free to enjoy West Virginia s beauty. This theory works in at least eight states: Florida; Nevada; New Hampshire; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Washington; and Wyoming. The governor has provided a long-range plan, not a short-term fix. Once it is implemented, imagine the growth as people relocate to West Virginia to live. These people will need all of life s basic living needs, from groceries to health care. That means that West Virginia must focus on quality roads, bridges, sewage treatment facilities, and education; on keeping the crime rate low; and on developing venues attractive to citizens from children to retirees. We must look past a one-year budget, and instead focus on where we want to be in eight years.