Posted: Thursday, 19 December 2013 10:32PM

MSU defense shines in win over Missouri



Springfield, Mo. (Missouri State Sports Information)  -- Missouri State (3-6) held one of nation’s top statistical offenses in check Thursday, turning 26 Missouri (10-2) turnovers into 32 points while swiping a season-high 17 steals from the Tigers and limiting the nation’s third-ranked 3-point shooting team to just 6-for-19 from beyond the arc in a 67-53 win at JQH Arena.

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The Lady Bears led wire-to-wire, holding the Tigers scoreless on their first six possessions and leading 8-0 at the first media timeout thanks to six points from Tyonna Snow. Missouri State extended the lead to 11-2 on a NiJay Gaines 3-pointer at the 14:28 mark, and went up 19-6 with 9:34 to play after Desiree Phillips buried a trey and Kenzie Williams hit a free throw.

MSU continued to hit from long range when Bry Snow hit her first triple of the season followed by a free throw by her younger sister for a 27-12 advantage with 6:15 left in the half.

Missouri State kept the lead in double figures for the remainder of the half, going into the break up 40-25 while limiting the Tigers to a single 3-pointer and holding a 17-0 edge in points off turnovers thanks to 10 MU giveaways.

Missouri twice cut its deficit to 11 points in the second half before Tyonna Snow’s steal and layup was followed 33 seconds later by Lexi Hughes’ second 3-pointer of the game to give the Lady Bears their largest lead of the contest at 51-35 with 13:18 remaining.

Williams extended the MSU lead with another steal and layup for 53-35 with 11:46 to go, but the Lady Bears managed just two points over the next 4:46 as the Tigers closed the deficit to single digits for the first time in more than 20 minutes with a jumper at the 7:14 mark for a 55-46 score.

Missouri’s run continued with a pair of layups to a 56-50 margin with 5:11 to play before the Snow sisters connected on back-to-back MSU baskets to push it back to double figures at 60-50 with 3:05 to go.

The Tigers hit a 3-pointer 30 seconds later to make it 60-53, but the Lady Bears hit seven free throws and forced seven empty possessions by Missouri over the game’s final 2:35 to close out the win.

The Lady Bears forced 16 turnovers and grabbed 10 steals in the second half alone, with Tyonna Snow recording six more steals to give her 19 in her last three games. The sophomore added a team-high 14 points, Williams and Bry Snow had 11 each, while NiJay Gaines netted a season-high eight points.

Missouri State shot 39.3 percent compared to 38.5 percent for Missouri, and held a 10-point advantage at the foul line. Hillary Chvatal matched a season high with seven rebounds, while the Tigers led 40-33 in that category.

The Lady Bears host Southeast Missouri State (4-8) on Saturday at 2:05 p.m.

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