Lady Bears Race Past Arkansas Tech in Exhibition Finale
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Missouri State Lady Bears used a 25-5 first-half scoring burst to take control of a tight game and never looked back, topping visiting Arkansas Tech 95-47 Saturday evening in exhibition action at JQH Arena. MSU hit on just under 57 percent of its field goal attempts and got a 26-point performance from Melissa Busby to wrap up its second straight convincing preseason victory.
Busby went 10-of-14 from the field, including 3-of-5 from three-point range, while Casey Garrison chipped in with a double-double of 13 points and 12 assists to pace the Lady Bear attack.
Unlike their season-opening performance last Sunday in which they raced out of the gate to a 30-point halftime advantage over Missouri Western, the Lady Bears slowly built their lead over the Golden Suns Saturday. MSU outscored Tech 25-5 over a nine-minute span, including a 12-0 spurt midway through the opening period, to take control of the game.
After starting just 5-of-17 from the field, the Lady Bears heated up to knock down 10 of their next 13 attempts in extending their lead to as many as 25 before heading to the halftime locker room with a 44-20 lead. MSU's defense also had a strong showing in the opening half, holding Arkansas Tech to just .273 (9-of-33) shooting while forcing 11 turnovers.
The Golden Suns briefly cut the gap to 21 points early in the second half, but MSU responded with a 12-2 run that was highlighted by back-to-back three-pointers by Busby with just over 13 minutes to play. The Lady Bears continued their hot shooting by converting seven of their first 11 tries from the field after the break and went on to outscore Tech 43-16 over the final 14:27 of the contest.
In all, Missouri State shot .567 (38-of-67) for the game, connecting on 33 of its final 50 field goal attempts.
Missouri State's transition game played a key role in the Lady Bears' offensive outburst. MSU enjoyed a 30-2 advantage in fast break points, spurred by 22-steal effort for the home team. The Lady Bears also dominated the paint, totaling 56 points in the interior to just 24 for the Golden Suns.
Joining Busby and Garrison in double figures were Jasmine Malone - who tallied 14 points, six rebounds and four steals - Whitney Edie (12 points) and Jacque Griggs (10 points). Garrison narrowly missed a triple-double, adding seven boards and four steals to her line, while Lacey Boshe hauled in a game-high 12 rebounds.
Next up, the Lady Bears will open the regular season next Saturday (Nov. 14) when they host the Georgetown Hoyas in a 2:05 p.m., game at JQH Arena.