VIDEO: Lady Bears roll as Harper wins 100th at MSU

SPRINGFIELD — The Missouri State Lady Bears extended their winning streak to six in a row overall and 11 straight home Missouri Valley Conference contests Sunday afternoon with a 66-51 victory against visiting Southern Illinois at JQH Arena.

The Lady Bears (7-7, 3-0 MVC) shot better than 50 percent over the game’s final 35 minutes after missing their first 10 shots, and held the Salukis (8-6, 1-2) to 14 first-half points, the lowest total for a half in JQH history.

After SIU took a 6-2 lead, the MSU defense limited the visitors to eight points in the final 16:27 of the first half, taking the lead for good at 11-8 on Sydney Wilson’s 3-point play with 2:27 left in the first quarter, and leading by as many as 16 before a 29-14 score at the break.

Missouri State pushed the margin to 17 points three times early in the second half before the Salukis sliced the deficit to single digits at 40-31 with 3:32 to play in the third period.

Freshman Mya Bhinhar scored half of her career-high eight points during a 5-0 run in response, and the Lady Bears led by double figures for the rest of the game, setting the arena record for consecutive MVC wins at 11, all by 10-plus points.

Jasmine Franklin posted her third straight double-double with 10 points and 14 boards, the most rebounds by an MSU freshman since Christiana Shorter had 16 in January 2010. Franklin is the first MSU player with 10-plus boards in three straight games since Hillary Chvatal in 2015, and the first with three consecutive double-doubles since Whitney Edie in 2012.

The Lady Bears finished with a 40-37 rebounding margin to lead that category for the 12th time in 14 games, had a season-low eight turnovers, and scored 44 points in the paint. Alexa Willard shot 7-for-13 with 18 points, and Danielle Gitzen had 10 points, four assists and a season-high four steals.

The win was the 100th for head coach Kellie Harper in 176 games at MSU, placing her behind only Cheryl Burnett (159) in fewest games needed to reach 100 wins among the four head coaches to do so at Missouri State.

MSU hits the Valley road for the first time this season on Friday, Jan. 18, with a 7 p.m. game at Bradley.

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