Lady Bears look for first win against unbeaten UTSA



The Missouri State Lady Bears (0-4) return home to face the UTSA Roadrunners (5-0) in a 7:05 p.m. matchup this Thursday evening at Hammons Student Center. The Lady Bears are still searching for their first victory of the 2007-08 season following a two games in Arkansas last week. On Sunday (Nov. 25), Missouri State suffered its fourth loss of the season at UALR after falling at Arkansas State Tuesday (Nov. 20) evening.

MSU will be looking to stop an eight-game losing streak dating back to late February. In all, the Lady Bears have dropped 16 of their last 17 games and three straight at home.

Southland Conference member UTSA is off to a perfect start after posting home victories over Huston-Tillotson, Belmont, Wichita State, New Orleans and Georgia Southern to start the season. The 5-0 start is UTSA’s best in eight seasons under head coach Rae Rippetoe-Blair.

Thursday’s game will be broadcast locally in Springfield on KTXR 101.3 FM and on the web at

Last Time Out: UALR built an early lead then fought off numerous comeback bids by Missouri State to earn a 68-55 victory, its first win over the Lady Bears in seven tries. The Trojans got point-rebound double-doubles from seniors Nikya Hughes and Andrea Keys to hand the Lady Bears their fourth consecutive loss to start the 2007-08 season.

Hughes was an offensive force for the Trojans early, as the 6-3 senior center scored UALR’s first seven points of the game. Tahnee Balerio answered Hughes’ first two field goals by rimming home a three-pointer from the top of the key at the 18:26 mark. But UALR would respond by outscoring MSU 12-0 over the next three and a half minutes to take a 16-3 lead.

MSU would trim the margin to 35-31 by intermission, as freshmen Jacque Griggs and Jasmyne Watson combined for 15 points in the half.

UALR oustcored Missouri State 9-2 to open the second half, as the Lady Bears hit just one of their first nine shots from the floor. The Trojans led by as many as 12 points before MSU cut into the deficit, drawing to within 51-46 on Watson’s three-point play with 6:39 left on the clock.

Once again the Trojans were able to answer, this time with a 12-2 scoring spurt, capped by seven straight points from Kim Sitzmann. Her trey from the top of the key with 3:36 to play capped the run and effectively sealed the victory for UALR.

Hughes led all scorers with 21 points to go along with game highs of 12 rebounds and three blocks.

Balerio led the way with 14 points for the Lady Bears, while Griggs and Watson each posted their first double-digit scoring efforts as Lady Bears, finishing with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Griggs grabbed a game-high 12 boards to help MSU outrebound UALR, 38-33.

UTSA cruised to a 72-52 victory over Georgia Southern on Saturday (Nov. 24) to claim the UTSA Thanksgiving Tournament title following a 14-point win over New Orleans in its tourney opener the previous night. Terrie Davis led all scorers with a career-high 24 points, while Monica Gibbs came through with a double-double (15 points/11 rebounds) for the Roadrunners, who shot 51 percent from the field on Saturday.

The Coaches: Nyla Milleson (Kansas State, ’85) is 0-4 in her first season as the head coach at Missouri State and 185-40 overall. The Goodland, Kan., native led Drury University to a 185-36 mark in seven seasons, highlighted by a national runner-up finish in 2003-04. In all, the Lady Panthers made five NCAA Division II Tournament appearances and advanced to the Sweet 16 in four of those years. Milleson was honored as Heartland Conference Coach of the Year four times, as Drury won five conference titles in all.

Rae Rippetoe-Blair (Oklahoma State, ’85) is 118-90 in her eighth year leading the Roadrunners and has a career mark of 225-134 in her 12th season as a collegiate head coach. A two-time Southland Conference Coach of the Year, Rippetoe-Blair is the winningest coach in school history and has led UTSA to seven consecutive SLC postseason tournament appearances.

Series Record: UTSA took the only previous meeting between the two schools, claiming an 82-79 victory in San Antonio on December 31, 1983. The Lady Bears have a 5-3 all-time record against current Southland Conference members.

Scouting UTSA: The Roadrunners are off to their best start since the 1996-97 season. Thursday’s contest will be UTSA’s first road game of the 2007-08 season after reeling off five straight wins at home.

The Roadrunners are led by 5-8 senior guard Terrie Davis, who scored a career-high 24 points in UTSA’s 72-52 win over Georgia Southern on Saturday (Nov. 24). She is averaging a team-high 15.2 points this season after contributing 10.6 ppg. as a junior last year. Davis is joined in the Roadrunners’ backcourt by 5-5 freshman Whitney York, who has connected on 61.8 percent of her field-goal attempts and is second on the squad in scoring with a 12.8 ppg. average. Junior Monica Gibbs led UTSA in rebounding a year ago (8.1 rpg.) and was the Roadrunners’ second-leading scorer (12.9 ppg.). The 5-8 guard is contributing 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per outing so far this season. Senior forward Amanda Foster anchors the post for UTSA with a 10.6 ppg. average while pulling down a team-high 8.4 boards per game.

The Roadrunners have gotten balanced offensive production through their first five games, with six different players averaging six points or more, including four in double figures. As a team, UTSA is shooting .444 (123-of-277) from the field and just under 38 percent (25-of-66) from three-point range to outscore their opponents by nearly 19 points per game. The Roadrunners have also been strong on the boards and on the defensive end of the court, holding the opposition to .361 (106-of-294) shooting from the field while posting a +6.4 rebounding margin.

In Search of a W: The Lady Bears’ 0-4 start is just the third such beginning to a Missouri State season in the 39-year history of the program. MSU began the 1988-89 campaign with four straight defeats and dropped its first five contests in 1975-76 for its lone 0-5 start to a season.

Including four straight losses to close the 2006-07 season, Missouri State’s current eight-game losing streak matches another eight-game string posted by last year’s team for the third-longest in school history. The Lady Bears dropped 10 straight contests from Dec. 8, 1979 through Jan. 14, 1980, then equalled that streak during the 1985-86 season when they lost 10 in a row from Nov. 30, 1985 to Jan. 9, 1986.

Additionally, the Lady Bears 1-16 mark over their last 17 games represents the worst such stretch in the program’s history. The previous low was a 2-15 run over a 17-game period spanning the 1984-85 and 1985-86 seasons (2/21/85 to 1/9/86).

Climbing the Charts: With her 14-point effort versus UALR, Balerio moved up the Lady Bears’ career scoring chart to match Sandy Meyer for the No. 22 spot with 889 points. Balerio passed Charitee Longstreth (883) for the 23rd spot and needs just two more points to reach the next two names on the list at No. 20, Lynne Miller and Kimberly Scoggin at 891 points.

Injury Report: Balerio has been slowed this week in practice by a left groin injury. She is expected to play Thursday despite being limited to shooting drills in Wednesday’s practice.

Adventures in Free-Throw Shooting: Missouri State hit just 5-of-17 free throws in its 74-54 loss at Arkansas State (Nov. 20), marking its lowest single-game percentage since Jan. 26, 1991 when the Lady Bears shot .267 (4-of-15) from the line.

In its next game, MSU responded by converting 16-of-19 (.842) foul shots, its best performance from the line since shooting .875 (7-of-8) at Creighton last January.

On this Date in Lady Bears History: November 29, 2003 - Georgia Tech 78, Missouri State 71 - The Lady Bears dropped their final game at the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam, yet still brought home the tourney title based on a net margin point differential tiebreaker. MSU led by one at the half despite hitting just six field goals in the first period. The Lady Bears fell behind early in the second stanza, as Georgia Tech shot 60 percent from the field after intermission to hand MSU its first defeat of the 2003-04 season. The Lady Bears would go nearly three months before losing again, winning 18 straight games en route to a 28-4 season and a sweep of both the regular season and postseason tournament Missouri Valley Conference titles.

Balerio Cracks Career Top 10 Lists: Senior guard Tahnee Balerio moved up to the No. 7 spot on MSU’s career top 10 chart for three-point field-goal attempts by going 2-of-10 from behind the arc against Green Bay (Nov. 17). She surpassed Tina Robbins (317) and enters Sunday’s game with 334 attempts for her MSU career.

Balerio also moved past current Lady Bear assistant coach Carly (Deer) Stubblefield for the No. 9 slot on MSU’s all-time three-point field goals list last season with her 72nd career trey in a 68-65 loss at Wichita State (2/3/07). Balerio now has 104 career threes, which is 16 shy of Jamie Bartlett in the eighth spot on the chart.

Windex Woman: Senior forward Tiff Terwelp cleaned the glass to the tune of 18 rebounds in the loss at ASU. That effort matched single-game performances by Lynn Strubberg (1/28/83 at Northwest Missouri St.) and Roshonda Reed (1/16/99 at Indiana St.) for the third-highest rebound total in MSU history. Terwelp’s previous career-high of 16 boards came in a 70-51 loss at Tulsa last December.

Lord Leaves Lady Bears: Sophomore center Ashley Lord has elected to leave the Lady Bear program for personal reasons and will seek a transfer from MSU at the conclusion of the fall semester with the intention of continuing her basketball career at another academic institution.

Lord played in all 28 games for the Lady Bears as a freshman in 2006-07, starting 18 contests while averaging 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds. This season, the Moran, Kan., native saw action in each of MSU's first three contests, averaging 0.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in just 6.7 minutes of playing time per game.

Welcome Wagon: Milleson and her staff have received four commitments to join the Lady Bears in 2008 during the November early signing period. Local products Lacey Boshe (Marshfield, Mo.) and Casey Garrison (Bolivar, Mo.) will be joined by a pair of Texas prep standouts, Jasmine Malone (San Antonio) and Regan Soldner (Southlake) in the class of 2008.

New Look Lady Bears: For the second consecutive season, two Missouri State freshman found their way into the starting lineup in a season opener. Marisha Brown and Jacque Griggs each drew starting assignments versus Texas, as six players in all made their MSU debuts against the Longhorns.

Turnover Troubles: In their convincing 92-55 victory over MSU, Texas forced 29 Lady Bear turnovers, the most committed by a Missouri State squad since Nov. 26, 2002, when the Lady Bears turned the ball over 32 times in an 85-76 win over Southeast Missouri State.

After committing 20 turnovers versus Green Bay, 26 against Arkansas State, and 17 in the loss at UALR, the Lady Bears are averaging 23 giveaways per game.

500/500 Club: Tiff Terwelp reached the 500 rebound mark for her MSU career when she grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds in MSU’s loss to Illinois State (2/10/07). The Quincy, Ill., native surpassed the 500-point milestone vs. DePaul (12/3/06), and currently has 721 career points, making her just the 16th player in Missouri State history to record both 500 points and 500 rebounds. Sarah Klaassen was the most recent Lady Bear to achieve the feat, finishing her career with 1,045 points and 542 rebounds in 2006.

Terwelp surpassed the 700-point mark with a nine-point effort vs. Green Bay on Nov. 17. She needs just nine more to move onto the Missouri State top 30 career scoring list. She also needs just six more rebounds to become the 12th Lady Bear to reach the career 600-rebound mark.

For Openers: With their 92-55 loss at #22 Texas, the Lady Bears are now 20-19 all-time in season openers and have dropped their last four contests on opening night. The 37-point setback is the largest margin of defeat in a MSU season opener since the Lady Bears lost a 43-point decision (94-51) at Arkansas to start the 1985-86 season. It is also MSU’s worst loss since Jan. 6, 2002, when it fell by an 84-47 score at Creighton.

This season marks the fifth year in a row Missouri State has played its first game away from Hammons Student Center. Last year, MSU lost to Iowa, 79-70, in its season opener in Kansas City after dropping the first game of 2005-06 at Arkansas State and its 2004-05 opener at Richmond.

MSU vs. Ranked Opponents: MSU’s season opener at #22 Texas was the Lady Bears’ first opener versus a ranked opponent since the 2000-01 season when they defeated #10 LSU, 85-75.

MSU is 2-2 all-time versus ranked teams in season openers.

The Lady Bears are now 19-35 all-time versus ranked opponents and have lost nine straight against top 25 teams.

Missouri State’s last win over a ranked foe came against Gail Goestenkors’ fifth-ranked Duke Blue Devils in the 2001 NCAA West Regional semifinal (3/24/01).

Missouri State Postseason Run: One or both of the MSU basketball teams have made postseason appearances in each of the last 22 years. With last year’s 7-21 finish, the Lady Bears missed the postseason for the first time since the 1996-97 season. The MSU women have seen postseason action in nine of the past 10 years and in 15 out of the last 17 seasons, dating back to the 1990-91 campaign.

Wyett Moves to No. 2: Junior forward Breton Wyett blocked three shots in the Lady Bears’ loss at SIU (3/1/07) to move into second place on the MSU career blocks list. The Edmond, Okla., native passed Kelly Mago (84) for the second spot in just 51 career games as a Lady Bear.

Wyett needs 128 more blocks to reach Sharon Zeilmann’s school record of 221, and with two blocks against Arkansas State (Nov. 20), Wyett moved onto the MVC’s career top 20 list.

Wyett cracked the MSU top 10 list for single- season blocks for the second straight year in 2006-07. She completed the campaign with 45 blocks, good for the fourth-highest total in school history. In all, Wyett posted 10 games of three blocks or more last season and led the Valley in blocks per game with a 1.96 average.

On the Road Again: Since snapping a seven-game road losing streak with an 83-76 win over Indiana State in Terre Haute last January, the Lady Bears have dropped their last 10 contests on the road and their last 11 away from Hammons Student Center overall. Over the last two years, Missouri State has won just two true road games and only four of its 30 games away from Hammons.

If You Build It They Will Come: The Lady Bears are playing their 32nd and final season in Hammons Student Center in 2007-08. Missouri State broke ground on the $67 million JQH Arena on Dec. 21, 2006 in the east parking lot adjacent to Hammons. The new 11,000-seat arena is slated for completion in time for the start of the 2008-09 basketball season. Last year the Lady Bears drew 81,349 fans, or an average of 5,424 per contest, good for 18th in the nation. Missouri State has ranked in the top 20 nationally in average attendance in each of the last 17 seasons, including 1992-93 when the Lady Bears led all of Division I in that category.

In all, MSU has drawn a total of 1,926,494 spectators for Lady Bear games over the 32-year history of Hammons Student Center, meaning the Lady Bears must average 5,609 in 14 home dates this season to reach the two million mark for total attendance in the building.

Home Sweet Hammons: The Lady Bears are 319-103 (.756) at home since HSC opened in 1976-77. MSU has had 24 winning seasons, four losing campaigns and three seasons at .500 at HSC. The Lady Bears have gone undefeated at HSC six times (1989-90, 1991-92, 1993-94, 1995-96, 2000-01, 2003-04). From Dec. 18, 1990 to Dec. 27, 1992 the Lady Bears won 30 consecutive games at Hammons Student Center. MSU also had a 24-game winning streak dating from Feb. 15, 2003 before falling at home to #1 LSU in December of 2004. Since 1989-90, the Lady Bears have a 246-42 (.854) record at HSC. Over the last 18 seasons, Missouri State has averaged more than 13 wins per season and fewer than three losses in that same time. Missouri State has ranked in the top 15 nationally in attendance for 15 of the last 17 seasons and has been in the top 10 in 11 of those years.

Personnel: The 2007-08 Lady Bears’ roster includes two seniors, four juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen. The 12-member group includes five returning letterwinners and seven newcomers. The Lady Bears return three starters from last season, including All-MVC first team guard Tahnee Balerio. Also returning are 2006-07 starters Tiff Terwelp and Roxy Stiles. Other returnees include Melissa Busby and Breton Wyett. Newcomers include Jamie Adams, Marisha Brown, Tiffany Coppage, Maggie Dwyer, Jacque Griggs, Janette Jackson and Jasmyne Watson.

Lady Bear Captains: Senior Tahnee Balerio, senior Tiff Terwelp and junior Tiffany Coppage will serve as tri-captains for the 2007-08 season. This marks the second year in a row Balerio and Terwelp have been selected Lady Bear captains.

Preseason Picks: Missouri State was picked to finish seventh in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll of coaches, media and sports information directors. The Lady Bears received 136 points, while preseason favorite Drake received 24 of 40 first-place votes and 348 total points.

MSU Peaks in The Valley: The Lady Bears are 195-71 all-time against Valley opponents with a 115-20 home record against league foes. Since joining the MVC in 1992, the Lady Bears have won at least a share of eight regular-season titles and seven conference tournaments. Missouri State has played in 10 of the 15 Valley tournament championship games.

Missouri State All-Time: Missouri State is in its 39th season of women’s collegiate basketball and has an all-time record of 653-440 (.597) for a total of 1,093 games. MSU began formal competition in 1969 and has now posted 26 winning seasons and made 13 NCAA Tournament appearances. The Lady Bears advanced to the Final Four in 1992 and 2001 and the Sweet Sixteen in 1993.

Affiliation: Missouri State is in its 26th NCAA Division I season and 16th MVC year. MSU was in AIAW competition on the state, regional and national levels through the 1981-82 season, moved to Division I and Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference play in 1982-83 and started MVC competition in 1992-93.



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