Calip’s 17 points lead Lady Bears to Preseason WNIT semifinals

BOISE, Idaho – The Missouri State Lady Bears extended their school record road winning streak to 12 games Sunday afternoon, topping preseason Mountain West Conference favorite Boise State by a 72-69 score to advance to the semifinals of the Preseason WNIT for a 7 p.m. Thursday game at Oklahoma.

Abby Hipp scored a career-high 14 points on 7-for-7 shooting – the ninth time in school history and first since 2003 that a Lady Bear made all seven shots – and Mya Bhinhar dished out seven assists to go with her career-high 10 points.

It was Hipp and Bhinhar who played key roles late, along with Brice Calip and her team-high 17 points. With the game tied at 62-all with five minutes remaining, Calip buried a 3-pointer and Bhinhar followed with a runner to make it 67-62 with 4:01 to play.

After the Broncos (2-1) cut the margin to a single point with 1:25 left, Hipp scored to make it 69-66, Emily Gartner followed with a free throw for 70-66, and Bhinhar knocked down two free throws with 7.2 seconds left to seal it after Boise State hit one final 3-pointer.

The game was tied 18-18 after a quarter, and the Lady Bears (3-0) closed the first half on a 15-2 run with five different scorers for a 38-31 lead at intermission.

The Broncos, who entered the game receiving votes in both major polls, came out hot after the break to grab a 46-42 lead, but the Lady Bears responded with a 13-2 run of their own, never trailing again after one of Elle Ruffridge’s three 3-pointers made it 49-48 with 3:47 left in the third period. Hipp capped the run with back-to-back baskets to restore the halftime lead at 55-48.

Alexa Willard scored 13 points to give the Lady Bears four players in double figures, and Jasmine Franklin hauled in nine rebounds to help MSU lead 37-35 on the glass.

Missouri State shot 44 percent overall and 6-for-12 from long range, handing out 16 assists against 13 turnovers. Boise State shot 45 percent overall and 8-for-28 from beyond the arc.

The Lady Bears are off to their best start since the 1997-98 team won its first 12 games, while Amaka Agugua-Hamilton is the first MSU head coach on record to win her first three games on the sideline.

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