by Missouri State Athletics
Missouri State used a stingy defense and 21 points from senior Danielle
Gitzen to extend its win streak to eight games Sunday afternoon with a 59-47 victory at Illinois State.
The Lady Bears (9-7, 5-0 Missouri Valley Conference) held the Redbirds (10-7, 3-3) to 30 percent shooting in their 12th consecutive Valley win, the school’s longest MVC win streak since a record 24 straight from 1999-2000 and the third-best in program history. It’s also Missouri State’s first 5-0 start in league play since the 2003-04 team won its first 11 games.
Missouri State did not score for more than six minutes to begin the game, but overcame the slow start by holding the Redbirds without a field goal for more than 12 minutes after ISU’s first bucket of the game.
Brice Calip got MSU on the board at the 3:26 mark of the first quarter, beginning a stretch of six consecutive makes – including Dariauna Lewis’s first career 3-pointer – by the Lady Bears that resulted in an 18-6 lead with 8:39 left before halftime. The Redbirds closed to seven points before a 7-0 MSU run pushed the margin to 29-15, and the Lady Bears shot 57 percent in the second period for a 31-20 advantage at intermission.
The Redbirds closed to eight points twice early in the second half, but the Lady Bears answered again with a Gitzen 3-pointer followed by her assisting Mya Bhinhar’s fast-break layup before Bhinhar hit a trey of her own for an 8-0 run and 46-30 lead with 2:05 on the clock.
MSU pushed the lead as many as 19 points early in the fourth period, and the Redbirds got as close as 10 with a late surge.
Gitzen’s 21 points came on 7-for-12 shooting, including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, while Calip added 12 points in the winning effort. Jasmine Franklin had eight points and eight rebounds, as MSU held a slight 37-36 edge on the glass to win that category for the 14th time in 16 games.
The Lady Bears committed a season-low seven turnovers, shooting 35 percent overall, 5-for-12 from beyond the arc and 14-for-17 at the foul line.