Lady Bears Fall to DePaul in Preseason WNIT Quarterfinal, 82-66
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Visiting DePaul used a strong defensive effort and a balanced offensive attack to get by the Missouri State Lady Bears, 82-66, Monday evening in Preseason WNIT quarterfinal round action at JQH Arena. Led by five players in double figures, the Blue Demons connected on 53.1 percent of their field goal attempts, blocked 10 shots and limited MSU to .328 shooting to advance to a semifinal match-up with Florida.
After Missouri State nearly erased a 12-point deficit late in the first half, DePaul outscored the Lady Bears 11-3 over the final 2:31 of the period to take control of the contest for good and head to the locker room with a 46-35 advantage. The Blue Demons hit on six of 13 shots from beyond the three-point arc over the game's first 20 minutes to build their lead, as Sam Quigley led the way with 11 of her 16 points on the night.
DePaul (2-0) pushed its lead to 13 on Felicia Chester's field goal early in the second, but Missouri State would make another push to cut into the margin. Casey Garrison nailed the Lady Bears' first three of the game with 18:06 to play to make it a 10-point game, and Hannah Wilkerson followed suit two minutes later to pull MSU to within 50-43.
But that would be as close as the Lady Bears would get the rest of the way, as China Threatt converted a jumper and Quigley scored off a steal by Chester to extend the lead to double digits for good.
After going 18-for-35 (.514) from the field, including 6-of-13 (.462) from beyond the arc, in the opening half, the Blue Demons were even better in the second stanza., They would hit shoot .552 (16-of-29) after intermission to eliminate any doubt about the outcome of the contest.
Quigley and Threatt would combine for 12 of DPU's 24 assists and share high-scoring honors with 16 points apiece. Chester added 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while Keisha Hampton tallied 10 points, three assists and four blocked shots and Taylor Pikes finished with a double-double of 10 points and 11 boards.
The visitors wasted little time in gaining the upper hand after a promising start to the contest saw the Lady Bears grab a 3-0 lead. DePaul converted four of its next five attempts from the field and scored 11 of the next 12 points to jump out to an 11-4 advantage. Chester started the scoring for the Blue Demons with a short jumper, and Anna Martin sank a three from the left corner to put the DePaul on top for good at the 18:07 mark.
The Lady Bears were able to cut the lead to three on a pair of Tia Mays buckets in the paint, but Hampton went to work for the Blue Demons, scoring eight of DePaul's next 10 points to stretch the lead back to seven points with 12 and-a-half minutes to play in the half.
MSU briefly drew to within three on back-to-back baskets by Christiana Shorter and Karly Buer, but the Blue Demons would outscored the Lady Bears 12-4 over a span of 2:24 to build a 29-18 advantage.
Threatt's three with 7:32 left in the period gave DePaul its biggest lead of the half at 32-20, but the Lady Bears clawed their way back into the contest once again. Garrison's jumper started a 12-3 run that would see MSU close the gap to three with just over three minutes to go.
That's when the Blue Demons seized control, getting a three-point play from Quigley and a Pikes jumper to make it a 40-32 game. Threatt would score four straight points, and Pikes would tip-in a Deanna Ortiz miss at the buzzer to account for the halftime margin.
Mays led the MSU charge in the first half with 12 of her career-high 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting and a 4-for-4 effort from the foul line. The Lady Bears were an uncharacteristic 0-for-6 from long range and turned the ball over 10 times.
Garrison would wrap up the night with a game-high 20 points, while Mays added eight boards to help the Lady Bears outrebound the Blue Demons by a 45-34 margin.
Next up, Missouri State (1-1) will conclude play in the Preseason WNIT with a consolation match-up either Friday (Nov. 19) or Saturday (Nov. 20). Details on the contest will be announced Tuesday on MissouriStateBears.com.