Missouri State’s women’s basketball season came to an end Thursday afternoon at the hands of the Drake Bulldogs with an 81-66 setback in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament first round at The Family Arena.
Ninth-seeded Drake (11-19) out-scored the No. 8 Lady Bears (14-17) by a 27-7 margin in the final 10:05 of the game to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round against top-seeded Wichita State.
Missouri State led much of the first half, using an early 8-0 run to gain an 8-5 advantage, and, after Kenzie Williams buried a 3-pointer with 12:06 to play for a 14-13 lead, stayed ahead until the Bulldogs went up 26-24 with 6:54 to play.
Hannah Wilkerson scored the final five points of a 7-0 run that put Missouri State ahead 37-30 with 2:48 on the clock, and the Lady Bears entered halftime with a 39-34 lead thanks to holding Drake to 34.1 percent shooting.
The Lady Bears twice pushed their lead to seven points early in the second period, but the Bulldogs used a 7-0 run to tie at 43-43 and then buried back-to-back 3-pointers for a pair of one-point leads and a 6-for-8 shooting start to the half.
Karly Buer’s jumper with 15:15 left put MSU back on top 50-49, and her runner in the lane five minutes later extended the margin to five points at 59-54.
Drake countered with a 7-0 run to lead for the first time in nearly 16 minutes of game time when Mary Pat Specht’s 3-pointer with 8:11 to go put the Bulldogs up 61-59, and pushed it to 9-0 before Tyonna Snow’s layup with 6:19 left made it 63-61 Drake.
Specht hit another trey with 3:55 remaining for Drake’s largest lead of the game at 70-64, and Kyndal Clark added another with 1:58 left to put the Bulldogs up 75-66. From there, the Lady Bears were unable to score and the Bulldogs made their free throws for the final margin.
Bry Snow led MSU with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting, and seven players scored at least seven points for MSU. The Lady Bears held a 46-44 rebounding margin with five players grabbing at least five caroms, including senior Christiana Shorter’s four boards that moved her to third in school history in total rebounds.
The Lady Bears ended the season with school records for offensive rebounds (541), offensive rebounding average (17.45) and total rebound average (44.26). MSU’s rebounding average rated as the highest in the MVC since 1987, and its 1,372 total boards are the No. 6 total in league history.
MSU also held on to its national lead of 25.03 free throw attempts per game, ranking sixth in MVC history with 776 foul shots on the year.
Williams (9th) and Tyonna Snow (14th) both ranked in the top 15 in school history among freshman scorers.