Lady Bears clamp down on Central Missouri for first win

Eleven players scored and 13 grabbed a rebound for Missouri State Wednesday in a 62-36 home-opening victory over Central Missouri at JQH Arena.


The Lady Bears (1-1) held UCM to the second-lowest scoring total for an opponent in JQH Arena history, limiting the Jennies (2-0) to 24.6 percent shooting in a game that counted as an exhibition for the 13th-ranked team in the NCAA Division II Coaches Poll.

Missouri State never trailed in the game and did not allow a shot by the visitors in the first three minutes, but was stuck on a 4-3 lead until rattling off 13 points in the final 4:20 of the first quarter for a 17-8 advantage after 10 minutes.

A Lee Ann Polowy trey pushed MSU’s lead into double figures at 20-8 with 8:51 until halftime, and the Lady Bears went through another four-minute scoring drought before Aubrey Buckley put back a missed shot and Brice Calip knocked down the second 3-pointer of the quarter and her career for a 28-15 halftime lead.

Alexa Willard buried two 3-pointers in the first 45 seconds of the third quarter and Audrey Holt followed with a score for what amounted to a 13-0 run and 36-15 lead just 1:16 into the second half. The Lady Bears made their first five shots of the half to lead 42-17 on another Willard basket, and led by 25 again at 46-21 after Shameka Ealy scored.

The Jennies countered with a 9-0 run over almost five minutes that was ended by Emily Gartner‘s first career bucket, and Gartner followed 3-pointers by Abby Hipp and Ealy to complete an 8-0 run for a 56-32 lead with 7:31 left. The Lady Bears led by at least 22 points for the remainder of the contest.

Senior Liza Fruendt‘s 18-game streak of scoring in double figures came to end, though her eight points earned a share of high scoring honors with Buckley, Calip and Willard. Buckley and Ealy each grabbed seven rebounds to help MSU lead 54-29 in that category. Fruendt added six boards and four assists, while eight of the Lady Bears’ 14 assists came from post players.

Missouri State held UCM to 4-for-34 from 3-point range, keeping an opponent under 50 points for the 15th time under Kellie Harper in 131 games.

The Lady Bears host No. 16/23 Missouri at 2 p.m. Sunday at JQH Arena.