by Missouri State Athletics
Missouri State shot 54.7 percent and posted the third-best rebounding margin in school history Sunday afternoon,
good for the Lady Bears’ fifth straight victory with an 88-66 decision against Evansville at JQH Arena.
MSU improved to 6-7 overall after a 2-0 Missouri Valley Conference start for the 13th time in 27 league seasons. The Lady Bears owned a 52-20 rebounding edge, led by Jasmine Franklin’s second straight double-double with 10 points and 10 boards, while Emily Gartner (9) and Sydney Manning (7) posted career-high rebounding totals.
Alexa Willard paced the offense with a career-high 25 points on 11-for-15 shooting, including eight straight makes in the first half and a 3-for-5 showing from beyond the arc. Danielle Gitzen added 15 points and six assists, Gartner tallied 13 on 6-of-8 shooting, and Dariauna Lewis scored a career-high eight. Mya Bhinhar (5) and Manning (4) had career high assist totals, and MSU finished with 21 helpers as a team.
Willard’s third trey of the game came with 1:37 left in the first quarter for a 26-12 lead, and MSU led by double digits for the final 32 minutes and tied the Missouri State JQH Arena for shooting percentage in a half by going 21-for-32 (.656) in the first 20 minutes.
The final margin was the closest the game got after halftime, as UE (2-11, 0-2) scored the final 10 points, and MSU blocked a season-high seven shots, three of those by Franklin.
The victory marked MSU’s 10th consecutive MVC home win, tying for the fifth-longest streak in school history, as well as the Lady Bears’ 51st win in their last 64 overall Valley contests, and Kellie Harper‘s 99th victory at Missouri State.