Shorter's Double-Double Helps Lady Bears to 75-54 Win Over Evansville
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Behind a monster performance from Christiana Shorter and their best team shooting effort of the season, the Missouri State Lady Bears improved to 2-0 in Missouri Valley Conference play with a 75-54 victory over Evansville Sunday afternoon at JQH Arena. Shorter recorded her 12th career double-double with a 21-point, 14-rebound effort to help MSU (11-3, 2-0 MVC) win at home for the sixth straight time in Valley play and the eighth time in its last nine games overall.
MSU seized control for good with a 32-12 scoring spurt over a 10-minute, 22-second stretch to turn a two-point game into its largest advantage of the afternoon. Shorter and Jasmine Malone each tallied eight points during the pivotal run that saw the Lady Bear defense kick into high gear as well. MSU, which outscored the Purple Aces 42-16 in the paint, limited UE to just four points over a span of six-and-a-half minutes to allow the offense to take over.
Shorter would finish the afternoon 8-of-12 from the floor to highlight Missouri State’s .470 (31-of-66) shooting day and lead a contingent of four Lady Bears in double figures. Malone notched her seventh straight double-figure scoring effort with 14 points, while Casey Garrison and Jaleshia Roberson added 13 and 10 points, respectively.
With nine rebounds on the day, Garrison became just the third player in program history to record 1,300 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists for her career, joining Secelia Winkfield and Jenni Lingor in the exclusive club.
The Lady Bears’ fifth straight win over Evansville did not come without a struggle, as MSU led by as many as 17 points in the opening period before the Purple Aces heated up from long range late in the half to make it a contest. The Lady Bears got an early lift from Shorter, who scored eight points in the first five minutes of the contest to stake Missouri State to a double-digit lead. The 6-1 sophomore scored the first four points of the game, then added two more baskets as part of an 11-2 run that was capped by a Roberson three-pointer that pushed the MSU lead to 15-4 with 14:18 left on the clock.
Missouri State would extend its advantage to 25-8 on a Tia Mays layup at the 9:17 mark before the Purple Aces would catch fire from the perimeter. Katie Ellerson knocked down three consecutive treys to spark a 13-2 UE run that drew the visitors to within six points with just under six minutes to play in the period.
The Lady Bears would get back to back buckets from Malone and Garrison to stretch their lead back into double figures before a Stephanie Bamberger layup and another three-this time from Meagan Collins-sliced the MSU lead back to five points. Field goals from Whitney Edie and Malone helped MSU close the half with an eight-point edge, but Evansville continued its comeback in the opening minutes of the second half, getting two triples from Samantha Heck and another from Ellerson to inch within 41-39 at the 14:30 mark.
MSU gained some breathing room at the free throw line, as Shorter sank four consecutive foul shots, and Lacey Boshe connected on a pair of tries from the line as well over the ensuing three minutes. Roberson and Shorter would then convert back-to-back buckets in transition to make it a 53-41 contest with 10:25 to play.
After a Malone jumper made it a 14-point game with just over eight minutes to go, Evansville made one final push. Bamberger connected from three-point range and Briyana Blair hit two free throws to pull the Aces to within 57-48.
But Missouri State responded with 12 unanswered points, five of which came from Kendra Roberts. Roberson’s second trey of the day with 4:33 to play hiked the Lady Bear lead to 21, and Malone’s lay-in at the 2:57 mark gave MSU a 73-51 advantage-its biggest of the game.
MSU limited the Aces to just .275 shooting, marking the sixth time this season the Lady Bears have limited an opponent to under 30 percent from the floor. The Lady Bears also outrebounded UE by a 51-35 margin and posted a season-high .909 (10-of-11) free throw percentage. Led by Mays’s six blocked shots, the Lady Bear defense racked up 10 rejections on the day.
Heck led UE with 15 points, while Ellerson totaled a career-high 12 on 4-of-9 shooting from three-point range.
Missouri State will hit the road for a pair of Valley games next week, beginning with a 7:05 p.m. game Thursday (Jan. 6) against UNI in Cedar Falls, Iowa.