Lady Bears close Hammons Student Center with 79-73 win over Creighton
The Missouri State Lady Bears made their final contest in Hammons Student Center a memorable one, outlasting Creighton 79-73 Saturday evening in women’s college basketball. With the victory the Lady Bears improved to 11-19 on the season and concluded the Missouri Valley Conference slate with a 9-9 mark, wrapping up the No. 5 seed at next week’s State Farm MVC Tournament.
The Lady Bears will take on the same Creighton Bluejays in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament on Friday (March 14) at 2:35 p.m. at The Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo.
Playing in their final regular-season games in Missouri State uniforms, Lady Bear seniors Tahnee Balerio and Tiff Terwelp made the most of their last night in Hammons. Balerio scored 16 of her 22 points in the second half and finished with a game-high eight assists, while Terwelp recorded her 12th double-double of the season with a 15-point, 12-rebound performance. Freshman Marisha Brown also turned in a big night for Missouri State, finishing with 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting, falling just one point shy of her career scoring high. The Kansas City native also grabbed six rebounds and was successful on three of her four attempts from three-point range.
Missouri State held the lead for all but the first 1:35, using a 10-0 scoring run to take control early in the first half. The Lady Bears were red-hot from long range in the first half, going 7-of-11 (.636) from three-point range. Brown scored six of her 10 first-half points on back-to-back triples with just over eight minutes to play in the period, giving MSU a 23-11 advantage. Tiffany Coppage pushed the MSU lead to 14 at the 4:54 mark with her third three of the half, and Balerio knocked down her second trey of the game to make it a 32-21 game after the Bluejays had sliced the lead to eight on an Ally Thrall three-pointer.
In the final minute before intermission, Jamie Adams scored on a feed from Jasmyne Watson to give the Lady Bears their largest lead of the half at 36-21 before CU’s Kelsey Crites capped the first-half scoring by connecting on a three-pointer with just 11 seconds to go in the period.
The Lady Bears were successful on 14-of-26 (.538) field goal attempts in the opening half, while CU struggled from the field, hitting just 25 percent (8-of-32) of their attempts.
Creighton cut into the Missouri State lead early in the second period, drawing to within 40-34 on a Kristina Voss basket at the 15:44 mark. MSU scored eight of the next nine points, including six straight from Tiff Terwelp, as part of a 21-8 burst that extended the Lady Bear advantage to 19 with just under five minutes to play.
MSU led 67-50 with 2:39 left in the contest when the Bluejays went on a 20-9 scoring run to trim the margin to just six in the final minute of play. Thrall totaled 14 of her team-high 22 points and Michelle Kaus drained a trio of three-pointers for CU during the run.
The Lady Bears had numerous opportunities to put the game out of reach, making 31 trips to the foul line in the second half. But MSU converted only 19 of those attempts and was outrebound by the Jays, 29-23 after the break.
Creighton, which dropped to 19-10 overall and 12-6 in MVC play, tied a Hammons Student Center record for team three-point attempts by going 12-of-32 from beyond the arc. The Jays finished with a 22-9 advantage on the offensive glass and took advantage of 17 Lady Bear turnovers to outscore MSU 24-6 on points off of turnovers.