by Missouri State Athletics
State extended its overall winning streak to seven games and picked up
its 11th consecutive Missouri
Valley Conference victory – the fourth longest league streak in school
history – with a hard-fought 68-56 victory at Bradley Friday evening
inside Renaissance Coliseum.
Alexa Willard led four Lady Bears in double figures with 18 points, Brice Calip scored nine of her 15 points in the fourth quarter while adding a season-high eight rebounds, Danielle Gitzen had 15 points, six boards, six assists and three steals, and Jasmine Franklin chipped in 12. The Lady Bears got 65 of their 68 points from starters in the first game this season with fewer than eight players in the scoring column.
The Lady Bears (8-7, 4-0 MVC) never trailed, jumping ahead 7-0 in the first three minutes and getting seven points from Willard in a 12-0 run over a 2:44 stretch in the second quarter to lead 34-17 with 3:10 left before halftime.
Missouri State took a 37-24 lead into the break, holding Bradley (12-4, 2-3) to 25 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes, and had the lead back at 17 midway through the third period after Franklin scored for a 48-31 advantage.
After that, the Lady Bears suffered through a pair of lengthy field goal droughts, the first lasting nearly seven minutes before Calip halted it with a 3-point play at the 8:08 mark in the fourth quarter for a 52-38 lead.
Calip connected again for a 58-42 advantage with 6:46 left, and MSU went more than five minutes without a field goal after that, allowing the Braves to cut the lead to nine points on two occasions but get no closer, as the Lady Bears went 9-for-12 at the foul line in the final period.
MSU owned a 49-38 lead on the glass with six players grabbing five or more boards, shot 42 percent compared to 32 percent for the Braves, and swiped 10 steals.