SPRINGFIELD – Sydney Manning’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer as time expired Friday evening capped a closing 8-0 run and gave the No. 18/20 Missouri State Lady Bears a 69-67 victory over preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Drake at JQH Arena.
Down 67-61 after Drake (9-5, 1-1 MVC) scored with 1:37 to play, the Lady Bears (13-2, 3-0) clawed back into the game at the foul line, getting a free throw from Emily Gartner (who went 8-for-12 at the stripe) and four more from Brice Calip (who shot 8-for-10) to cut the cap to 67-66 with 47 seconds left.
MSU made one last defensive stand and Gartner came away with her ninth rebound to set up the final play, and after the Lady Bears retained possession on a review with 13.4 seconds left, Sydney Wilson drove the lane, lost her balance, and then tipped the ball to Manning on the left wing, who found nothing but net on her fourth trey of the game on the way to a career-high 16 points.
The Lady Bears jumped ahead 9-1 in less than three minutes, led 20-10 after the first quarter and 31-19 on two of Gartner’s 12 points with 5:46 before halftime, only to see the offense go cold.
The Bulldogs, who entered the game with a 29-game MVC road winning streak and rated 28th in the NCAA RPI, rattled off a 16-3 run to take at 35-34 lead early in the second half.
MSU responded with a 7-0 run over the next two minutes and led 45-41 with 4:35 left in the third on a Jasmine Franklin bucket.
From there, the Lady Bears made only two more field goals until Manning’s game winner but stayed afloat with 17 free throws in the final 13:10 to finish 21-of-27 at the line.
The score was tied seven times from 46-46 to 58-all, at which point Drake ripped off a 7-0 run to lead 65-58 with 3:35 remaining before scoring with 97 seconds left for the 67-61 advantage that set the stage for the MSU heroics.
Franklin logged 12 points and 12 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season, adding two blocks to move into a tie for ninth in MSU history with 67 in her career. Calip reach 10 points after her solid day at the charity stripe, and the Lady Bears committed a season-low 10 turnovers to go with 11 steals and eight blocks.
The Lady Bears shot just 32.4 percent compared to 46 percent for Drake but managed 18 more attempts thanks to 21 offensive rebounds and nine fewer turnovers. The defense held the Bulldogs to 1-for-12 shooting from 3-point range.
The Lady Bears host UNI (9-4, 1-1) at 2 p.m. Sunday. The Panthers won 60-57 at Southern Illinois on Friday.