The Lady Bears fell to 14-15 overall and 6-11 in Missouri Valley Conference games, but still hold a chance of gaining the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament. The Redbirds improved to 20-8 and 12-4 in the league, keeping their hopes alive for a share of the regular-season MVC title.
Missouri State could not have drawn up a worse start as the Redbirds converted six MSU turnovers into their first 10 points just five minutes into the game and eventually built a 24-2 lead a tick under 10 minutes into the contest.
Illinois State led 47-15 at halftime, shooting 54.5 percent compared to 22.2 for the Lady Bears, and turned 15 MSU turnovers into 19 points in the first period.
The Redbirds opened the second stanza with a 10-0 run to lead 57-15 and Missouri State responded with a 12-0 spurt that included seven points from Karly Buer for a 57-27 tally with 14:09 to play.
Missouri State added a 9-0 run to pull to 67-46 with 7:05 remaining, and Bry Snow connected for back-to-back layups for a 69-52 deficit with 4:51 left. The Lady Bears twice cut the lead to 16 but got no closer despite out-scoring the Redbirds 45-24 in the final 16:05 of the game.
MSU shot 44.4 percent in the second half to improve to 34.9 for the game (22-63), and Illinois State finished 30-for-69 from the floor.
The Lady Bears held a 45-44 edge on the glass in a battle of the league’s top two rebounding teams.
Missouri State closes the regular season Saturday at 2:05 p.m. when it hosts league-leading Wichita State (20-9, 14-3) at JQH Arena. Seniors Whitney Edie, Christiana Shorter and Aly Stock will be honored at the game.