Gitzen scores 17 to power Lady Bears to 2nd straight win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri State picked up its second consecutive victory Friday afternoon at the Roo Holiday Classic, taking the lead for good on Alexa Willard’s 3-pointer with 44 seconds left on the way to a 68-65 decision over SIU Edwardsville at Swinney Recreation Center.

The Lady Bears (3-7) led 55-43 with 9:09 left in the game after Jasmine Franklin scored two of her 10 points, but the Cougars used runs of 8-0 and 7-0 over the next six minutes to close to 61-60 with 3:03 to play. SIUE (4-6) evened the score at 62-apiece with 1:31 left before Willard’s trey from the left wing made it 65-62 MSU.

Brice Calip, who scored 14 in the game to go with six rebounds, made a free throw with 22.3 on the clock for a 66-62 lead, SIUE banked in a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left, and Elle Ruffridge sealed it with two fouls shots with 8.6 left as the Cougars missed a triple at the buzzer.

Missouri State led 11-10 after a quarter despite a 2-for-17 shooting start, and Calip scored nine in the second period, including the first six of a 7-0 run for a 31-24 lead with 1:04 until halftime.

The Cougars cut the gap to four points on three occasions in the third quarter before Danielle Gitzen drained a trey and had a steal and score around a Sydney Wilson bucket for a 7-0 run and 51-40 lead with 2:10 on the clock. Gitzen scored nine in the quarter and 17 in the game.

The Lady Bears finished with a 54-36 rebounding advantage, including 25 offensive boards, with Emily Gartner’s career-high nine caroms leading a group of seven players with at least five rebounds. Gitzen had three of MSU’s eight steals, and Wilson had three assists, six points and six rebounds.

Missouri State is off until hosting Little Rock at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 30 at JQH Arena. Tickets for the Little Rock game are available now at or by visiting the Old Missouri Bank Box Office at JQH Arena, (417) 836-7678. The box office will be open at 10 a.m. on Dec. 22, 8 a.m. on Dec. 26-27, and 3 p.m. Dec. 28-29 during the holidays.

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