Bradley turns back Lady Bear rally
The Missouri State women’s basketball team came up just short of their second-consecutive Missouri Valley Conference victory Sunday afternoon, as Bradley fought back the Lady Bears’ second-half rally to claim a 76-68 win at Hammons Student Center.
After a Breton Wyett free throw with 3:28 to play capped a 24-11 Missouri State run and cut the Bradley lead to just two points, Devyn Flanagan knocked down the biggest of her 10 field goals on the day to extend the Braves’ lead to 72-68 and spark a 6-0 spurt to close out the Bradley victory.
Flanagan’s shot with 3:12 remaining in the contest highlighted a huge afternoon for the junior guard, who matched a career high with 25 points. The Riverton, Ill., native also grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds, handed out five assists and blocked a pair of shots.
Bradley grabbed the early lead behind some solid three-point shooting, leading by as many as nine points in the first half before heading to the locker room with a 40-32 advantage at the break.
The Braves’ duo of Flanagan and Amy Peters combined to score 24 of the Braves’ first half points. Flanagan scored 11 of her 13 first half points in a five-minute span to help BU stretch its lead to 31-22 at the 4:22 mark, and Peters buried her third three-point field goal of the half with 41 seconds remaining to push the BU lead back to eight points following a Tahnee Balerio jumper that had trimmed the margin to 37-32.
Missouri State struggled shooting the ball in the opening half, connecting on just 24.1 percent of its field goal attempts. However, the Lady Bears were a perfect 16-of-16 from the foul line to stay within striking distance of the hot-shooting Braves. Junior forward Tiff Terwelp, who hit all eight of her free throw attempts, led MSU with 12 points in the half.
To start the second half, Bradley picked up right where it left off, stretching its lead to 48-34 at the 16:26 mark on a Flanagan three-pointer. Missouri State cut into the lead over the next four minutes, crawling back to within eight points on Melissa Busby’s trey with 12:36 to play.
But Bradley responded with a pair of jumpers by Flanagan and a three-pointer from Erika Nelson to push its lead to 59-44 with 11:20 remaining.
Wyett, who scored a career-best 26 points in Missouri State’s 72-70 win over UNI on Friday, proceeded to score 13 of her team-high 21 points over the next six and-a-half minutes to draw the Lady Bears to within 70-68. The sophomore forward had a chance to cut the gap to just one point, but missed the second of her two free throw attempts before Flanagan ignited the Braves final scoring run.
With the loss the Lady Bears dropped to 6-10 on the year and 2-5 in Missouri Valley Conference play, while Bradley improved to 3-4 in the conference and 7-11 overall.
Missouri State heads north for a pair of conference match-ups this week, beginning with a 7:05 p.m. contest against Creighton in Omaha on Thursday, Jan. 25. The Lady Bears will then meet Drake in a 2:05 p.m. game in Des Moines next Saturday, Jan. 27, to conclude the two-game road trip.