SPOKANE, Wash. – In a match-up between the two teams ranked 17th in the AP and Coaches Polls, it was home standing Gonzaga that came out on top, holding the Missouri State Lady Bears to 34 percent shooting for a 64-52 victory Friday evening inside McCarthey Athletic Center.
The No. 20/17 Lady Bears (9-2) trailed 11-4 late in the first quarter after a 2-for-12 shooting start but took a 20-19 lead with 4:23 left until halftime on Abby Hipp’s first 3-pointer of the season.
The Bulldogs (11-1) closed the first half on an 8-2 run to lead 27-22 at the break, and MSU pulled to 30-28 before GU rattled off a 19-4 run to lead 49-32 with 32 seconds left in the third quarter.
Missouri State had one final run, with Alexa Willard scoring seven of her 13 points in a 9-0 spurt to cut the gap to 49-41 with 6:47 left in the game, but the Lady Bears could get no closer, suffering only their second road loss in the last 16 tries, both to ranked competition.
Brice Calip led MSU with 15 points, adding six rebounds, three assists and two steals, but the Lady Bears shot under 40 percent and scored fewer than 68 points for the first time this season.
Jasmine Franklin hauled in 10 rebounds and made all three of her field goals, moving her December total to 25-of-27 from the floor in four games. Elle Ruffridge hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored nine off the bench, and Hipp finished with seven points.
The Lady Bears committed 20 turnovers, with 14 of those coming in the second half, and each team had 39 rebounds. Gonzaga shot 45 percent overall and had 18 turnovers, 10 of those due to MSU steals.
The Lady Bears will have a break until wrapping up non-conference play with a 1 p.m. home game against William Jewell on New Year’s Eve.