Lady Bears offense explodes in win at Evansville

Missouri State cracked the 90-point barrier for the third time this month and improved to 2-0 in Missouri Valley Conference play Sunday afternoon, beating Evansville 95-65 inside Meeks Family Fieldhouse.

The Lady Bears’ 95 points are the most under Kellie Harper, breaking the mark of 94 set Dec. 7 of this season against Wichita State, while MSU’s 38 field goals have been tied three times but not exceeded since 2001. Missouri State (6-7) shot at least 50 percent in each of the first three quarters and 48.1 percent in the game, while the defense limited UE to 35.6 percent shooting.

Senior Liza Fruendt logged her third career double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds, hitting five 3-pointers on the way to becoming the sixth Lady Bear with 200 treys in a career. All 12 active players scored in the game, with Alexa Willard and Danielle Gitzen tallying 13 apiece to join Fruendt in double figures. Gitzen added four rebounds, four of MSU’s season-high 23 assists, and four steals.

Missouri State owned a 49-31 rebounding advantage, with Shameka Ealy (8), Emily Gartner (6) and Elle Ruffridge (6) all setting or tying career highs. Brice Calip added nine points on 4-for-4 shooting with five assists.

MSU got off to a torrid shooting start, with Willard and Fruendt combining for the team’s first 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the first four-plus minutes, and Fruendt reached double figures with a 3-pointer at the 2:35 mark for a 26-17 lead.

The Aces (3-10, 0-2) closed to 28-25 after a quarter with a buzzer-beating heave, but failed to score for nearly eight minutes to start the second period, as the Lady Bears started on an 18-0 run and limited Evansville to 1-for-11 shooting on the way to a 51-29 halftime lead.

Missouri State buried five 3-pointers in the third quarter, scoring 30 points and pushing the lead to as many as 44 at 81-37 before Evansville whittled the margin down in the final period.

The Lady Bears nabbed nine steals and committed just turnovers of their own.

Missouri State returns to JQH Arena Jan. 5 for a 7 p.m. game against Drake.