March 10, 2012
St. CHARLES, Mo. -- The Missouri State Lady Bears (22-8) finished with season lows in points (47), shooting percentage (.299) and three-pointers (0) as Creighton’s (19-12) defense stifled MSU after a quick start in a 56-47 loss in the semifinals of the State Farm MVC Tournament Saturday afternoon at The Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo.
The first half was characterized by long dry spells for each team that resulted in a combined 18-for-57 overall shooting performance and 2-for-20 from beyond the three-point arc.
Missouri State held Creighton scoreless until the 16:25 mark and led 12-2 eight minutes in. The Lady Bears extended the lead to 12 at 16-4 with 10:35 to play before the Bluejays erased all of the lead with a 12-0 run to tie at 16-16 with 7:18 left.
The Lady Bears then scored just one basket themselves for nearly eight minutes as the Jays grabbed a 20-18 lead, and Casey Garrison tied the game with a jumper before Jaleshia Roberson converted a three-point play with 2:09 left to end the scoring at 23-20 at intermission as CU closed with one bucket in the final six minutes.
Missouri State maintained its three-point lead in the early minutes of the second half before Creighton kept the Lady Bears off the scoreboard for nearly five minutes while using a 7-0 run to lead 32-28 with 12:17 to play.
Roberson was fouled on a three-pointer and made all three free throws for a 32-31 deficit with 11:55 to play, but the Bluejays again had the answer with a 7-0 run lead 38-31. Garrison’s basket at the 9:04 mark served as MSU’s first field since 16:31 and made it 38-33.
Creighton went back up by seven at 40-33, and Garrison brought the Lady Bears to 41-39 at the 3:08 mark and 44-41 with 2:21 left, but Carli Tritz answered with three-pointers each time, the second on a fallaway at the shot clock buzzer that included a foul and made free throw for a 48-41 score and 1:47 to play.
Tritz’s four-point play proved to be the dagger as the Lady Bears remained cold from beyond the arc in their last-ditch comeback bid to finish the game 0-for-14.
Garrison led MSU with 18 points as the only player in double figures. Christiana Shorter grabbed nine rebounds as MSU held a 43-40 edge on the boards.
Tritz scored 29 for the Bluejays, who shot 36.7 percent for the game.
Missouri State now awaits its postseason fate, as both the NCAA and WNIT selections take place Monday evening, March 12. MSU entered the MVC Tournament rated 53rd in the RPI.