Lady Bears hold off Northern Iowa to complete road sweep

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Missouri State withstood a big fourth quarter run from UNI Saturday afternoon and held on for a 64-60 win to finish off a weekend sweep of the Panthers and improve to 2-0 in Missouri Valley Conference play for the fourth consecutive season.

The 25th-ranked Lady Bears (6-2, 2-0 MVC) owned a dominating 51-29 rebounding margin, including a 23-3 edge in offensive boards, picking up their fifth straight win in the McLeod Center and moving to 25-4 in their last 29 true road games.

Missouri State led 16-12 after 10 minutes and dominated the second quarter with an 18-5 rebound edge to lead 32-18 at the break. The Lady Bears were ahead 41-29 after Brice Calip converted a 3-point play with 3:56 left in the third, only to see the Panthers (6-7, 3-3) rip off a 9-0 run before Abby Hipp scored on the final possession to make it 43-38.

The Lady Bears opened the fourth quarter on a 13-3 run with the help of four offensive boards and Elle Ruffridge and Mya Bhinhar hitting MSU’s only 3-pointers of the game to make it 56-41 with 5:35 on the clock.

UNI countered with a 14-2 run for a 58-55 deficit with 1:50 to play, and twice more cut MSU’s lead to three points, including 63-60 with 18 seconds left. A Jasmine Franklin free throw was the only scoring in an action-packed last 18 seconds, and the junior finished with nine points, three steals and two blocks while tying her season high with 13 rebounds.

Calip led MSU with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, filling up the stat sheet with seven boards, six assists and three steals. Hipp added 14 points and Emily Gartner scored a season-high 10.

The Panthers edged Missouri State in shooting percentage across the board, but the Lady Bears made five more field goals on 21 more attempts thanks to their offensive rebounding prowess.

Missouri State returns home Jan. 22 and 23 for a pair of games with Drake at JQH Arena.

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