Lady Bears Cruise Past Rogers State in Exhibition Opener
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Missouri State Lady Bears raced out to a 27-point halftime lead and never looked back Monday evening at JQH Arena in the preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite's exhibition opener against Rogers State. Freshman Karly Buer combined with junior Jasmine Malone for 28 points in the opening stanza, and the duo would go on to share high-scoring honors for the game with 17 points apiece.
MSU struck early behind a red-hot long-range attack that netted six treys on 11 tries over the game's first 20 minutes. The Lady Bears gained the upper hand in the opening minutes behind a pair of jumpers from Buer, the second of which handed Missouri State an 8-4 lead at the 17:14 mark. After the Hillcats drew to within two on an Andrea Miles bucket, MSU would outscore RSU 16-4 over a six-minute stretch to build its cushion to 24-10 with just over nine minutes to play in the period.
Malone knocked down back-to-back jumpers-including the first of her three first-half triples-to push the margin to double digits. Freshman Desiree Phillips then canned a long trey to make it a 22-8 contest at the 10:24 mark. Yet another freshman--Hannah Wilkerson--chipped in with a three of her own to extend the lead to 17 with 8:01 to play.
MSU would close the half on a 12-0 run to take their biggest lead of the night into the locker room. Buer's three with 4:20 to go keyed the spurt, and Malone added another long-distance conversion with just under two minutes remaining on the clock. Buer wasn't quite done, as the Concordia, Kan., native sank jumpers on successive possessions in the final 1:07 of play.
For the half, MSU converted 16-of-36 (.444) field goal attempts, including .545 shooting from beyond the three-point arc. MSU's defense also came up big, permitting just 6-of-25 (.240) shooting from the floor while forcing 11 RSU turnovers in the opening half.
The Lady Bears maintained their distance from Rogers State throughout the rest of the contest, as the Hillcats never seriously penetrated the MSU lead despite heating up to hit on 13-of-27 field goal tries after the break. Three times the visitors drew to within 21 points, but the Lady Bears had an answer each time.
The Hillcats were led by Cortney Crockett's 16 points and Candice Stewart's game-high 11 boards.
Casey Garrison totaled a game-high seven assists to go along with 16 points for Missouri State, 12 of which came in the second half.
Up next, the Lady Bears conclude the exhibition portion of their schedule with a 2:05 p.m. match-up against Quincy on Sunday (Nov. 7) at JQH Arena.