Lady Bears' defense keys 70-55 win at Bradley
The Missouri State Lady Bears continued a pattern of strong second-half performances Saturday afternoon, limiting the Bradley Braves to 29 percent shooting after intermission to earn a 70-55 win, their fourth consecutive Missouri Valley Conference victory in women’s college basketball. Maggie Dwyer scored 12 of her game-high 19 points in the second half, including eight during a 10-2 scoring run midway through the second period that gave the Lady Bears the lead for good.
Dwyer and sophomore guard Roxy Stiles accounted for 15 of MSU’s 17 points during a critical run that saw the Lady Bears (6-11 overall, 4-2 MVC) hold Bradley without a field goal for over six minutes to take control of the game for good.
Senior forward Tiff Terwelp grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and came up big for the Lady Bears on the offensive end of the court in the second half, totaling 12 of her 14 points in the period to record her fourth double-double of the season.
The Lady Bears’ defense held the Braves to just six points over a 13-minute span that allowed MSU to take control of the ballgame.
MSU struggled to find the bottom of the net at the onset of the second stanza, connecting on just five of its first 17 tries from the field. But with the score even at 42-42, Maggie Dwyer scored six straight points for the Lady Bears, kicking off what would become a 28-10 run with a three-point play at the 13:00 mark. Dwyer then buried a trey with 10:15 to play and followed a Stiles putback with a layup at the 7:48 mark to stretch the advantage to 52-44.
Stiles’ then reeled off five straight points for MSU, hitting a three-pointer from the left wing with 5:35 to go, then connecting on another jumper with 4:14 to play to make it a 59-48 ballgame. From there, MSU extended its lead to as many as 18 points in the closing minutes before settling for a 15-point victory to register its first four-game win streak since March 2006.
The Lady Bears got off to a solid start after knocking down four three-pointers in the first eight minutes of the contest. Missouri State grabbed its largest lead at 16-12 on a Melissa Busby trey, her second of the half, with 12:42 left in the period. But MSU was bitten by the turnover bug, giving the ball back to the Braves 12 times in the first half, including nine over the final 11-plus minutes.
Bradley (7-9 overall, 1-4 MVC) shot .483 (14-of-29) from the floor in a back-and-forth first half that featured nine ties and five lead changes. Neither club led by more than four points, as the Braves took a two-point lead into the lockerroom after Sonya Harris’s jumper with 0:50 left in the period broke a 30-30 tie.
Missouri State outrebounded BU 41-35 and finished the contest 25-of-57 (.439) from the floor, while holding the Braves to a 38.1 field goal percentage for the game.
Stiles finished with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, and Balerio also scored in double figures with a 12-point afternoon.
The Lady Bears return home next Friday (Jan. 25) for a 7:35 p.m. matchup against the MVC-leading Illinois State Redbirds in a game that will be featured on the Valley’s television network and carried live in Springfield on FSN Midwest.