Fruendt scores 1000th point, MSU tops Illinois State

NORMAL, Ill. — Missouri State picked up its 10th Missouri Valley Conference win of the season Sunday, securing a winning MVC record for the 19th time in 25 league seasons with a 77-44 victory at Illinois State.

Junior Liza Fruendt became the 26th member of MSU’s 1,000-point with the Lady Bears’ first bucket of the contest, though the Redbirds (7-19, 4-11) jumped ahead 7-2 in the game’s first two minutes.

It was all Missouri State (14-11, 10-4) after that, as the Lady Bears held ISU to nine points over the next 20 minutes, with Fruendt’s trey putting MSU ahead for good with 5:07 left in the first period, and Aubrey Buckley making it a 21-10 game at the 8:31 mark of the second before the Lady Bears closed the half on a 7-0 run to lead 33-16 at the break.

Missouri State’s lead grew to 20 points at 45-25 on a pair of Audrey Holt free throws that capped a 7-0 run after the Redbirds cut the margin to 13 points. The Lady Bears led by at least 18 points for the rest of the game after those foul shots with 4:30 left in the third, pushing the lead to as many as 35 late in the fourth quarter.

Four Lady Bears scored in double figures and seven players scored at least six points as MSU shot 48.1 percent overall, 7-for-16 from 3-point range and 20-for-25 at the foul line. Fruendt led all scorers with 13, Buckley and Gitzen added 11 apiece and Shameka Ealy scored 10. All 10 players in uniform scored for the fifth time this season, and each grabbed at least one rebound.

Gitzen paced MSU with six rebounds, five assists and a career-high six steals. The Lady Bears won the rebounding battle, 44-32, and six players contributed to the team’s nine blocked shots, with Ealy and Onye Osemenam swatting three apiece.

MSU limited the Redbirds to 24.6 percent shooting overall and 19 percent from beyond the arc.

Missouri State returns to JQH Arena for the final time this season next week for games against Indiana State at 7 p.m. Friday and Loyola at 2 p.m. Sunday.