Four Lady Bears Earn Postseason Honors

by Missouri State Athletics

Four Missouri State women’s basketball players earned postseason honors from the Missouri Valley Conference Wednesday, with Danielle Gitzen landing a spot on both the First Team and the Defensive Team, and Brice CalipJasmine Franklin and Alexa Willard making the Honorable Mention squad. Franklin is also one of five All-Freshman Team members. 

Gitzen leads the Lady Bears in scoring (12.4/game), assists (3.1) and steals (1.6), adding 3.9 rebounds and shooting 42.5 percent overall and 37.5 percent from 3-point range. The senior guard ranks 10th in the MVC at 80.2 percent from the foul line, and has scored in double figures 20 times this season with a pair of double-doubles. For her career, the Victoria, Minn., native has 937 career points, 439 rebounds, 271 assists and 155 steals, one of only six players in school history to reach those numbers in all four categories.

Calip, a sophomore guard from Sapulpa, Okla., has started every game for the Lady Bears this season, averaging 10.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 41 percent overall and 73 percent at the foul line on a team-high 126 attempts. Calip has 14 double-figure scoring games to her credit, including seven straight midway through the MVC season, and boasts a 1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio, moving her career mark to 1.37, the fifth-best in school history.

Franklin leads all MVC freshmen in rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage, and averaged 9.7 points and 7.3 rebounds overall, and 10.1 points and 8.1 boards in Valley play with five double-doubles. A four-time MVC Newcomer of the Week, Franklin’s .582 field goal percentage ranks second in the MVC, and currently sits eighth in MSU history and first among freshmen. With 40 blocks and 39 steals on the year, the Fayetteville, Ark., native is the only freshman nationally and only MVC player with at least 37 in each category, and is one steal away from the first 40-block, 40-steal season in MSU history. 

Willard scores 11.6 points per game and shoots 84 percent from the foul line this season, starting all 29 games for MSU. The junior guard has 17 double-figure scoring games this year with a high of 29 points against Bradley, a game in which she set a JQH Arena record with 13 field goals. The Lebanon, Mo., product has 942 points in her Lady Bear career, and ranks fifth in school history with a .844 free throw percentage.

All-MVC teams were selected by the league’s head coaches, sports information directors, and two media members covering each school. Voters were not allowed to choose players from the school they represented. 

The Lady Bears (20-9, 16-2) are the No. 2 seed at this week’s MVC Tournament in Moline, Ill., and open play on Friday at 6 p.m. against the winner of Thursday’s game between No. 7 Loyola and 10th-seeded Evansville.