No. 17/19 Lady Bears comeback falls short in Valley loss

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois’ Gabby Walker hit a layup with one second remaining Friday to hand the Salukis a 70-68 victory over No. 17/19 Missouri State at Banterra Center, handing the Lady Bears their first road Missouri Valley Conference loss in nearly two years after a school-record streak of 13 consecutive wins.

Missouri State (14-3, 4-1) played catch-up for most of the game after a solid first quarter and trailed 62-54 with 4:23 on the clock before pushing the game to the verge of overtime.

It was still a six-point deficit as the clock went under three minutes before Brice Calip hit a layup and Jasmine Franklin scored the next three points for a 64-63 deficit with 52.5 seconds left.

The Salukis (10-6, 2-3) hit a 3-pointer with 23.3 on the clock for a 67-63 advantage, and MSU’s Alexa Willard was fouled on a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession and hit all three foul shots on the way to a 27-point night and 67-66 deficit.

MSU had the ball down two points with 13 seconds left and tied it when Franklin rebounded a missed 3-pointer and scored with 4.0 seconds left for a 68-68 tie, but SIU found Walker open under the bucket for the win.

The Lady Bears led 21-20 after the first quarter but struggled to 2-for-12 shooting and six turnovers in the second frame, trailing by as many as 10 points before heading into halftime down 35-27.

Missouri State rallied for a 44-all tie with 1:36 left in the third, SIU responded with a 7-0 run, and MSU was only able to tie again later, never leading after a 23-22 advantage early in the second quarter.

Franklin surpassed 500 career points while collecting her seventh double-double of the year with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

MSU shot 47.3 percent overall but a season-low 1-for-11 from 3-point range and just 15-for-23 at the foul line. The Lady Bears owned a 34-33 rebound margin.

Missouri State is off for a week until returning to action for a 6 p.m. game on Jan. 24 at Indiana State.

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