by Missouri State Athletics
Missouri State’s best NCAA Tournament run in nearly two decades came to an end Saturday in the Chicago Regional
Semifinal at Wintrust Arena, as the Lady Bears fell to No. 2 seed and sixth-ranked Stanford by a 55-46 final.
The Lady Bears (25-10) finished with their most wins in a season since 2005, holding the Cardinal to 25 percent shooting overall and 3-for-29 from 3-point range in a gritty defensive effort. Stanford (31-4) was equal to the task, blocking six shots and limiting MSU to 25.4 percent from the field and a season-low point total. The loss ended a streak of 16 consecutive wins away from Springfield over the course of 111 days.
Missouri State fell behind 4-0 and never led, scoring a season-low 19 first-half points but keeping Stanford within striking distance for the duration of the game.
After going without a field goal for nearly nine minutes around halftime, Jasmine Franklin scored for a 28-23 deficit with 7:12 left in the third quarter, and Brice Calip followed with a trey 39 seconds later for a 30-26 score. Freshman Sydney Wilson pulled MSU within a possession at 34-31 late in third, and Danielle Gitzen’s bucket with 1:04 left did so again at 38-35.
Stanford responded with an 11-1 run over the next five minutes to lead by 13, and the Lady Bears fired right back, scoring eight straight points to close to 49-44 on a Franklin basket with 2:09 remaining.
The Cardinal ended their five-minute scoring drought at the foul line with 27 seconds left, and went 6-for-8 at the stripe down the stretch to secure an Elite Eight berth.
Gitzen led MSU with a game-high 14 points to go with eight rebounds in her final game, and Franklin finished with 11 points and 10 boards for her sixth double-double of the year. Emily Gartner also had eight board for MSU, who trailed Stanford 55-48 in that category.