Jan. 31, 2014
SPRINGFIELD -- Missouri State played all 12 of its players at least 11 minutes Friday evening in a convincing 87-70 victory over Missouri Valley Conference rival Evansville at JQH Arena.
The Lady Bears (9-10, 4-4 MVC) got 38 points from their bench and converted 20 Evansville (7-12, 2-6) turnovers into 34 points in their first of four consecutive home games.
In a contest marked by numerous momentum swings, it was a five-minute stretch midway through the first half that tilted the game in Missouri State’s favor. The Lady Bears buried their first three shots of the game - all from beyond the 3-point arc - but led just 11-10 before ripping off a 23-5 run in just four minutes, 58 seconds of game time to lead 34-15 with 8:59 left in the first half.
Included in that run were two smaller 7-0 spurts with six players scoring for the Lady Bears, led by Kenzie Williams and Hannah Wilkerson with five points each.
After NiJay Gaines scored a layup with 3:04 left in the first half for a 46-21 lead, Missouri State went the next six-and-a-half minutes without a point while the Purple Aces closed the gap to 12 points with a 13-0 run that Katie Palmer stopped with a free throw for a 47-34 lead with 16:35 to play.
Missouri State quickly had the momentum back, using its own 13-0 run to gain its largest lead of the contest at 65-38 with 11:53 to play. Williams scored the final five points of that run and then buried her fourth trey of the game for a 68-40 advantage and 11:15 on the clock.
Evansville shaved 12 points off the lead over the next five minutes to pull within 74-58, but got no closer.
Williams finished the game with 21 points on 10 field goal attempts, shooting 4-for-6 from beyond the arc and making all five of her free throws. Tyonna Snow added 17 points and seven steals in just 16 minutes, registering her fourth career game with at least seven thefts and tying for the No. 8 single-game total in MSU history in that category.
Freshman guards Lexi Hughes and Katie Palmer logged career-highs in minutes played with 25 and 23, respectively, with Hughes hitting a pair of triples and dishing out a career-high four assists. Palmer, meanwhile, had a team-high six rebounds and scored in double figures for a third consecutive game with 13 points.
The Lady Bears won the rebounding battle 47-36 with all 12 players grabbing at least two boards. MSU shot 44.9 percent overall, 10-for-25 from 3-point land and 15-for-21 from the foul line after making its first 11 attempts. The Aces converted 42.2 percent overall and 5-for-19 from long range.
Missouri State hosts Southern Illinois at 2 p.m. Sunday. The Salukis (4-15, 2-6) lost 74-51 at Wichita State Friday.