Lady Bears roll over Southern Illinois, 78-58
The Missouri State Lady Bears turned in perhaps their best all-around performance of the season to defeat Southern Illinois 78-58 Friday (Feb. 8) evening in women’s college basketball in Carbondale, Ill. The Lady Bears shot 49 percent from the field while holding SIU to just .328 shooting from the field to earn a season sweep of the Salukis and improve to 7-14 overall and 5-5 in Missouri Valley Conference play.
Maggie Dwyer and Tahnee Balerio led four Lady Bears in double figures with 18 points apiece. Dwyer went 9-of-10 from the foul line and hauled in six boards, while Balerio went 7-of-8 from the floor, grabbed five rebounds and handed out four assists to lead the MSU charge.
Missouri State connected on 27-of-55 field goal attempts and converted 16-of-17 tries from the free throw line, including 10-of-10 in the second half. The Lady Bears pushed their lead to 20 points five different times in the second half to snap a three-game losing streak with their third win in their last four road contests. The victory was the Lady Bears’ 21st in the last 23 meetings between the two schools.
The Lady Bears got off to a quick start, thanks in large part to a strong defensive effort. Southern Illinois hit just two of their first 20 shots to allow MSU to build an early double-digit lead. Maggie Dwyer buried a three-pointer at the 15:16 mark to give the Lady Bears a 10-2 lead, and Melissa Busby’s lay-in off of a steal pushed the advantage to 10 points with just under 12 minutes left in the period.
Missouri State pushed its lead to 15 points on two separate occasions before SIU cut its deficit to 32-21 on a pair of Ellen Young free throws with two and-a-half minutes to go in the half. But the Lady Bears reeled off six unanswered points to close the half with a 17-point advantage.
MSU knocked down 51.7 percent (15-of-29) of its field goal attempts in the first stanza while holding SIU to just .242 (8-of-33) shooting.
The Lady Bears kept the pressure on at the onset of the second half, as Tiff Terwelp converted a three-point play on MSU’s first possession of the second half to push the MSU advantage to 41-21. Missouri State would go without a field goal for nearly five minutes as SIU went on a 10-2 run to cut the margin to 12 points. The Lady Bears answered with three-pointers from Busby and Tiffany Coppage to extend their lead to 51-34 with just under 13 minutes left in the game.
The Salukis made a run behind eight straight points from Erica Smith to draw to within 10 points with 7:44 to play. But Missouri State responded by outscoring SIU 16-6 over the ensuing three and-a-half minutes to make it a 20-point affair once again. Coppage drained two more key triples during the run to help MSU put the game out of reach.
Terwelp recorded her seventh double-double of the season with a 15-point, 11-rebound effort and Coppage chipped in a career-best 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
Smith led the Salukis, who dropped to 7-13 on the season and 3-7 in The Valley, with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Erin Pauk also finished in double digits with 13 points for SIU.
The Lady Bears will conclude their stretch of three-straight road games Sunday (Feb. 10) with a 2 p.m. contest at Evansville.