by Missouri State Athletics
Missouri State nearly erased a double-digit halftime deficit Sunday afternoon against 21st-ranked Gonzaga
before falling by a 70-67 final to the Bulldogs at JQH Arena.
Sophomore Brice Calip scored a career-high 20 points for the Lady Bears, who fell to 0-2 against ranked competition this season with the losses coming by a combined seven points. Shameka Ealy added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, and Alexa Willard scored 14.
The Bulldogs (10-1) opened a nine-point lead after one quarter and led by as many as 14 in the final minutes of the first half before taking a 39-28 lead into intermission.
After Calip scored for a 41-32 deficit at the 8:32 mark of the third quarter, Gonzaga’s lead stayed between five and nine points for the next 14 minutes, with MSU (1-7) closing to five points on four separate occasions before Ealy buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 4:48 left in the game for a 61-57 deficit.
Calip followed with a traditional 3-point play 31 seconds later to cut the gap to 61-60, Gonzaga hit two free throws on its next possession, and neither team scored again until the Bulldogs hit a layup with 50.1 seconds left to lead 65-60.
The Bulldogs hit enough free throws from there to hang on, though the Lady Bears’ defense held the visitors to 34.5 percent shooting in the second half and 41.4 percent for the game.
Missouri State shot 21-for-55 for the game and made its first 12 free throws on the way to a 20-for-24 showing at the charity stripe, though the team failed to reach 73 points for the first time since Nov. 13.
Missouri State heads to Kansas City later this week for games against Louisiana Tech at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and SIU Edwardsville at 3 p.m. Friday as part of the Roo Holiday Classic on the UMKC campus.