Lady Bears Dominant in Exhibition Opener
SPRINGFIELD -- After a see-saw start to their exhibition opener against Southwestern Oklahoma State, the Missouri State Lady Bears scored 17 unanswered points over a seven-minute span, then buried the Bulldogs with a stifling defense and an offense that heated up to convert 24-of-41 field-goal tries in the second half to cruise to an 89-37 victory at Hammons Student Center Saturday (Nov. 1) evening.
Senior guard Tiffany Coppage led four Lady Bears in double figures with 18 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the three-point arc. Sophomore Jacque Griggs and senior Maggie Dwyer also posted double-digit scoring nights, tallying 16 and 15 points, respectively. Freshman Casey Garrison totaled 10 points, while classmate Jasmine Malone also recorded a solid debut performance, finishing with eight points and team-highs of eight rebounds and seven assists.
The Bulldogs got off to a solid start behind the three-point shooting of Tobey Beer, grabbing a 17-16 lead on the senior guard’s third triple of the game with 8:33 to play in the opening half. SWOSU connected on five of its first 13 field goal attempts, but the Lady Bears’ defense tightened, holding the Bulldogs without a field goal for over the ensuing 11 minutes to build an insurmountable advantage.
Coppage kicked off the decisive rally with a running 12-footer in the lane, then connected on her second three-pointer of the opening period with 3:10 to go to make it a five-point game. After a Malone putback made it a 26-19 contest, Griggs scored the final four points of the stanza to give MSU a 30-19 lead at the break.
The Lady Bears picked up right where they left off to open the second half, scoring the first six points of the period and 18 of the first 20 to build a 48-21 advantage. MSU kept the defensive pressure on SWOSU as well, limiting the Bulldogs to just three field goals and nine points overall in the first 14:47 of the second half to extend its cushion to 70-28. Griggs’ layup at the buzzer accounted for the final 52-point margin, the Lady Bears’ largest lead of the night.
MSU would shoot 58.5 percent from the floor in the second half while holding the Bulldogs to just .308 shooting for the stanza and 28.6 percent (14-of-49) for the game. In all, the Lady Bears would convert 33 SWOSU turnovers into 38 points and outscore the Bulldogs by a sizable 50-18 margin in the paint.
Lucy Ramon led SWOSU with 14 points on the night, while Jenna Sprague grabbed a game-high nine boards.
Missouri State will host Arkansas Tech next Sunday (Nov. 9) in a 2:05 p.m. exhibition match-up at Hammons, before opening its 40th season of varsity basketball Nov. 14 with a road tilt at Southeast Missouri State. The Lady Bears will open the home portion of their schedule Nov. 23 when they host Arkansas State in a 2:05 p.m. contest at JQH Arena.