CHICAGO — Twelve Lady Bears scored, including eight with at least six points, as Missouri State used a big second half to pull away from Loyola for an 85-58 victory Sunday afternoon at Gentile Arena.
The Lady Bears (17-8, 13-1 Missouri Valley Conference) became the first squad in program history to start 7-0 in MVC road games, out-scoring the Ramblers (12-14, 6-9) 50-27 after intermission.
Missouri State made its first six shots to lead 12-6 after three minutes, but went 2-for-10 for the rest of the first quarter as Loyola rallied for a 20-16 lead after 10 minutes.
Abby Hipp scored five of her season-high nine points during a 7-0 run to begin the second period, and the lead changed hands four more times before halftime, with an 8-0 MSU run resulting in a 35-28 advantage before the Ramblers connected on a 3-pointer for the 35-31 intermission score.
Brice Calip had a 3-pointer and a traditional 3-point play early in the third quarter for MSU’s first double-digit lead at 43-33, and it was 47-35 after Jasmine Franklin scored off a scramble with 5:49 to play. The Ramblers cut the gap to seven points on two occasions before Elle Ruffridge scored eight points in 54 seconds during a 12-0 spurt that put MSU ahead 61-42 with 43 seconds left in the third.
MSU’s lead grew to 20 at 69-49 with 6:54 left after an 8-0 run in which Franklin scored four points to reset her career scoring high at 18, and the Lady Bears led by at least 15 the rest of the way, growing the margin to as many as 29. Franklin shot 7-of-10 from the floor to go with five rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
Hipp grabbed a career-high seven rebounds, as MSU owned a 48-28 lead in that category despite trailing 9-6 after the first quarter. Danielle Gitzen dished out six of Missouri State’s 22 assists, and the Lady Bears nabbed 12 steals off 21 LUC miscues.
The Missouri State bench scored 40 points, with Sydney Schultz scoring a career-high eight and Mya Bhinhar adding seven with three assists and two steals. Alexa Willard surpassed 900 career points with a first-quarter basket.
The Lady Bears shot 47.3 percent overall compared to .424 for the Ramblers, who got 16 points from Abby O’Connor.
The Lady Bears return home for the season’s final home weekend, taking on UNI at 7 p.m. Friday, March 1, and Drake at 2 p.m. on March 3.