Bulldogs Ride Second-Half Scoring Run to 66-60 Win Over Lady Bears
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Drake used a 13-2 second-half scoring run and some stingy defense to take control of a tightly contested game and ultimately come away with a 66-60 win over the Missouri State Lady Bears Sunday (Feb. 8) afternoon in Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball action at JQH Arena. The Bulldogs got 20 points from Jordann Plummer and held the Lady Bears to just .355 shooting in the second half to earn their eighth win in their last nine games.
After the Lady Bears had drawn to within 36-35 with just over 14 minutes left in the game, Monique Jones started Drake’s pivotal run by sinking a pair of free throws then converting a short jumper to push the DU lead back to five points. Plummer would add a basket moments later and her three-pointer would extend the margin to double digits with 8:42 left on the clock. Kristin Turk’s drive to the basket on the Bulldogs’ next possession netted two more points to cap the run and give the visitors their largest lead of the day.
The Lady Bears would close the gap to six points on a Jasmine Malone layup with 2:10 remaining, but Turk answered for DU by hitting from beyond the arc to stretch the lead back to nine. MSU kept battling, getting a pair of threes from Jaleshia Roberson in the final minute, the last of which trimmed the gap to 64-60 with just 0:18 left in the contest.
But Drake, which went just 15-of-24 from the free throw line for the day, made its foul shots when it needed them most, as Amber Wollschlager sank a pair of free throws with 0:15 left to seal the victory for Drake.
Conversely, Missouri State’s attempt to come from behind was hampered by a lackluster performance from the foul line, as the Lady Bears hit just 8-of-15 (.533) attempts in the second half. The Valley’s top free throw shooting club coming into the game, MSU would go just 13-of-22 (.591) for the afternoon.
Drake turned in a solid second-half defensive effort, holding the Lady Bears without a field goal for over six minutes during the critical run. DU outrebounded the Lady Bears 24-17 and limited MSU to 11-of-31 shooting after the break.
The outcome was very much in doubt after a back-and-forth first half that featured six ties and two lead changes, resulting in a 27-27 deadlock going into the break. Casey Garrison got the Lady Bears off to a strong start, driving the lane for a basket and drawing a foul just seven seconds into the contest. Garrison would convert the three-point play then extend MSU’s lead to 9-4 by sinking a three-pointer from the right corner with 17:27 left on the clock.
Drake would respond with a 7-0 spurt, capped by Jordann Plummer’s trey at the 15:05 mark, to take a 12-9 lead. But the Lady Bears outscore the Bulldogs 14-3 over the next seven minutes to build an eight-point advantage. The run was made possible by a Missouri State defensive effort that held DU scoreless over a six-minute stretch.
The Bulldogs would regroup to reel off eight unanswered points to even the score at 23-23 with 3:44 to play in the half. MSU would take a brief four-point lead, but DU hit four free throws in the last 2:15 of the half to make it a tie game going into the break.
After missing their first seven field goal tries coming out of the break and seeing DU grab an eight-point lead, the Lady Bears climbed back into the game with a 7-0 run. Maggie Dwyer drove baseline for a layup and foul to start the spurt. She would miss the free throw, but Malone corralled the loose ball and fed Garrison, who drilled a three from the right wing. Garrison hit another jumper the next time down the floor to pull to within 36-35 with 14:10 to go.
That would be the last MSU field goal until Garrison broke the dry spell with a basket in the paint at the 7:59 mark, giving Drake enough time to build its double-digit lead.
Garrison finished with a game-high 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting, and Malone pulled down a career-best 10 rebounds to lead MSU.
Missouri State, which dropped to 6-16 on the season and 2-9 in MVC play, hits the road for a pair of MVC match-ups, beginning with a 7:05 p.m. contest Thursday (Feb. 12) against league-leading Illinois State in Normal, Ill.. The Lady Bears will then travel to Terre Haute, Ind., for a 1:05 p.m. game against Indiana State on Saturday (Feb. 14).