by Missouri State Athletics
Missouri State used its best defensive effort of the season to close out the non-conference schedule with
a 48-44 victory against visiting Little Rock Sunday afternoon at JQH Arena.
The Lady Bears improved to 4-7 overall with their third straight win, while the preseason Sun Belt Conference favorite Trojans fell to 4-7.
Neither team hit a 3-pointer in the game, a first for MSU since March 2012, a first for an MSU opponent since December 2017, and the first time neither team connected from long range since March 13, 1993. Missouri State’s 48 points also marked the team’s fewest in a victory since a 47-44 win over Western Illinois in December 2006.
After not scoring for more than five minutes to open the game, the Lady Bears rattled off a 13-0 run – including five points from Mya Bhinhar – to lead 13-6 early in the second quarter, and pushed the margin to double figures at 19-8 with 4:37 remaining before halftime thanks to a pair of Brice Calip free throws.
The Trojans scored the next eight points, and Missouri State countered with a 10-0 run on either side of halftime to lead 29-16 with 7:29 to play in the third quarter.
MSU held a 39-29 lead after Jasmine Franklin scored to open the fourth period, but Little Rock tallied a 9-0 run over the next three minutes, and eventually took a 42-41 lead with 4:18 remaining.
Calip, who finished with 10 points and a season-high seven rebounds, scored to regain the lead 30 seconds later, and Abby Hipp followed a minute after that to make it 45-42 with 2:48 to play. Alexa Willard’s free throw with 16.1 seconds left made it 46-44, and Franklin grabbed the rebound on Little Rock’s next miss, got fouled, and sank a pair of foul shots to seal the win.
Emily Gartner grabbed a career-high nine rebounds for the second straight game to help MSU lead 40-28 in that category, while Franklin and Danielle Gitzen scored eight each for the Lady Bears.
Missouri State went 14-for-15 at the foul line and shot 32.1 percent overall compared to 35.8 percent for the Trojans.