Lady Bears come up just short in Preseason WNIT final

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Seventh-ranked Oregon State handed the Missouri State Lady Bears their first road loss in nearly a year Sunday afternoon, with MSU’s 13-game road win streak – the longest active streak in NCAA Division I and dating to Dec. 9 of last season – ending with an 80-69 setback in the Preseason WNIT final in front of a hostile crowd of nearly 5,000 at Gill Coliseum.

The Lady Bears (4-1) took it to the No. 7 Beavers (4-0) for much of the first 25 minutes, leading 16-11 after Sydney Wilson’s steal and score with 1:44 left in the first quarter, going up 33-30 on Jasmine Franklin’s first career 3-pointer, and getting nine points in the second period from Sydney Manning, including six in the final 34.1 seconds for a 39-35 halftime advantage.

After the Beavers tied the score shortly after the break, Emily Gartner and Alexa Willard combined for an 8-0 run and a 47-39 lead, and Franklin added another bucket for 49-42 with 4:58 left when the Beavers charged back.

OSU made its next eight field goal attempts, and, coupled with a 1-for-12 showing by the Lady Bears over the same eight minutes, closed the third quarter on a 13-0 run and extended it to 22-2 for a 64-51 lead with 7:27 on the game clock.

Missouri State punched back with a 7-0 run, pulling to 64-58 with 5:25 left, and twice more got within two possessions, the last on a Brice Calip trey for 73-67 with 1:37 left, but got no closer as OSU shot 15-for-26 in the second half with six 3-pointers.

The Lady Bears led for nearly 20 minutes of the contest, shot 40 percent from the field and trailed just 38-36 on the boards while playing a ranked team for the sixth time in the last nine games.

Willard scored a game-high 21 points and Franklin added 13, both earning WNIT all-tournament honors. Gartner added a season-high 11 points and eight rebounds, and Mya Bhinhar dished out four assists.

Missouri State is idle until a 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22 contest with Santa Clara at JQH Arena.

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