Balanced Lady Bears take down Loyola, 84-49

SPRINGFIELD — Missouri State dominated the final three quarters against visiting Loyola Friday evening at JQH Arena, turning a four-point lead after 10 minutes into an 84-49 victory.

The Lady Bears (10-7, 6-0 Missouri Valley Conference) shot 49 percent for the game and 57 percent in the second half, running their overall win streak to nine games and MVC streak to 13 to remain tied atop the league standings.

Twelve players scored for MSU, with freshmen combining for 40 points, including Sydney Manning (12) and Mya Bhinhar (8) registering career high scoring totals. Jasmine Franklin added 11 points and three steals while sharing high rebounding honors with fellow rookie Dariauna Lewis at six apiece.

Missouri State led 4-0 after 25 seconds and never trailed, but it was still a four-point margin at 16-12 after a quarter before Manning took over to begin the second period. The freshman buried a trio of 3-pointers and added a traditional three-point play – one of seven times in the game that MSU scored and drew the foul – over a 3:30 stretch for a 30-20 lead with 5:45 left until halftime.

Freshmen scored Missouri State’s first 16 points of the second quarter, and it was a 38-27 halftime lead before the Lady Bears blitzed Loyola (9-8, 3-3) out of the locker room with Brice Calip scoring on both ends a 9-0 run for a 20-point advantage less than three minutes into the second half.

Calip added an and-1 to spark a 7-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter for a 66-38 lead, and MSU led by as many as 37 points.

Danielle Gitzen (12) and Calip (11) gave Missouri State four scorers in double figures, and Alexa Willard added nine to surpass 800 career points.

Five Lady Bears nabbed multiple steals on the way to a season-high 14 for the team, and MSU owned a 38-25 rebounding margin, hauling in 18 offensive boards against the nation’s leader in defensive rebound percentage.