by Ben Adamson
Missouri State bolted to an 18-4 lead and never trailed 23rd-ranked
Minnesota Tuesday afternoon to earn a 77-69 victory at Williams Arena in the first game under head coach
Brice Calip posted career highs of 21 points and five steals to go along with six assists, Jasmine Franklin tallied a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and the Lady Bears set a school record by going 17-for-17 at the foul line.
Missouri State extended its school record with its 11th consecutive road win and picked up its fourth victory during a stretch of five consecutive games against AP Top-25 opponents.
Calip’s traditional 3-point play 86 seconds into the contest began the scoring, and she had seven points in an 11-2 start before scoring again for the 18-4 lead at the 3:51 mark.
It was 26-13 after the first period, and the Gophers rallied in the second frame, opening with back-to-back 3-pointers and getting as close as 32-28 before Lady Bears closed the half on a 5-0 run.
Emily Gartner’s first career 3-pointer at the 8:47 mark of the third quarter sparked a 7-0 run over 55 seconds to push the margin to 44-31, but the Gophers continued to stay hot from long range, getting consecutive treys from Destiny Pitts to make it 50-47 with 2:28 on the clock.
MSU weathered the storm once again, finishing the third period up 56-49, and going back ahead by double digits at 61-51 on a Calip 3-pointer with 8:26 remaining in the game. After the Gophers countered with another trey, the Lady Bears rattled off a 10-2 run to 71-56 with 4:19 left and led by as many as 16 before one final offensive flurry by Minnesota.
Missouri State shot 55 percent for the game and owned a 41-21 rebounding lead to overcome 26 turnovers. Alexa Willard scored 13 points to join Calip and Franklin in double figures, Gartner finished with seven points, six rebounds and two blocks, and Mya Bhinhar dished out four assists.