by Ben Adamson
State’s nine-game winning streak ended Thursday evening at Illinois
State as the No. 17/21 Lady Bears were unable to overcome a 13-point
halftime deficit in a 78-66 setback
inside Redbird Arena.
The Lady Bears fell to 23-4 overall and 13-2 in Missouri Valley Conference play, but remain alone atop the standings, while Illinois State moved to 16-10 and 8-7 in league play.
Missouri State led 5-0 after a minute and 19-12 with three minutes left in the first quarter following a 10-2 run in which Brice Calip scored seven of her 20 points.
The Lady Bears went cold after that, getting out-scored 25-5 for the remainder of the half with a 12-3 foul differential and 17-4 free throw attempt edge to the Redbirds exacerbating the issue for a 37-24 score.
Missouri State emerged from the locker room and erased all but one point of the deficit by the 5:25 mark after Calip’s traditional 3-point play made it 41-40, and the Lady Bears pulled within a point twice more before ending the third period down 48-45.
The Redbirds hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter to cap a 10-2 run and lead 56-47 at the 7:35 mark and finished 5-for-5 from long range in the final 10 minutes to thwart MSU’s comeback attempt. The Lady Bears pulled to 62-57 with 3:46 left but got no closer.
MSU shot 35.5 percent in the game and allowed 55.6 percent shooting from ISU, while the Redbirds became the third team all season to out-rebound the Lady Bears, 35-32.
Sydney Wilson and Jasmine Franklin scored 13 each and Alexa Willard added 12. Franklin had four steals and seven rebounds to become the second player in school history to reach 500 career rebounds as a sophomore.