Lady Bears fall short of first win with 63-59 loss to UTSA
Despite holding UTSA to just 30 percent shooting from the field, the Missouri State Lady Bears’ bid to earn their first victory of the 2007-08 season fell short Thursday evening in Springfield. The Roadrunners converted 21-of-25 free-throw attempts, including 16-of-20 in the second half, to outlast Missouri State, 63-59, in women’s college basketball action at Hammons Student Center.
Freshman guard Jordan Stark notched her first career double-double with a 14-point, 13-rebound effort and knocked down four foul shots in the final minute of play to help give the Roadrunners their sixth victory in as many games this season.
UTSA took the lead for good late in a back-and-forth first half that featured seven lead changes. Junior guard Tiffany Coppage provided an early spark off the Lady Bear bench, as her three three-pointers sparked a 13-2 scoring run that gave Missouri State an 18-12 lead at the 8:59 mark.
But UTSA outscored MSU 15-6 over the final 5:44 to take a 31-28 advantage into the break. Stark connected on back-to-back three-point attempts with under one minute to go in the period, and Amanda Foster totaled 11 points in the half to lead all scorers.
The Lady Bears kept the game close throughout despite struggling to find an offensive rhythm. MSU shot just .364 (24-of-66) from the field, including a 4-of-19 (.211) performance from beyond the arc, but trailed by no more than six points until a critical intentional foul call late in the game turned the momentum in UTSA’s favor for good. The Roadrunners led 48-44 with just under six minutes to play when UTSA’s Terrie Davis converted a breakaway layup and senior guard Tahnee Balerio was whistled for an intentional foul. Davis sank both free throws to double the Roadrunners’ advantage.
Missouri State would draw to within four points at the 2:49 mark on a pair of Balerio free throws, before Davis answered with two successful tries from the charity stripe. Freshman guard Jasmyne Watson came right back with a layup for the Lady Bears, and two more Balerio foul shots pulled the home team to within 56-54 with just 1:22 left in the contest.
Another freshman answered with a clutch shot for UTSA, as Whitney York hit a 12-foot jumper in the lane with 57-seconds to go. After a Missouri State miss, Stark hit a pair of free throws with 0:33 to play, before Watson tallied the last of her career-high 13 points on a three-pointer. But MSU would get no closer, as another 2-for-2 trip to the foul line by Stark with just 0:12 left closed out the win for the Roadrunners.
The Roadrunners were led by Foster’s 15 points, and junior guard Monica Gibbs matched her career high with 14 rebounds. Davis also finished in double figures for UTSA with 12 points.
Missouri State got a game-high 17 points from Balerio, who shot 5-of-10 from the field. Senior forward Tiff Terwelp led the Lady Bears with 10 boards, her second double-digit rebounding effort in the last three games.
With the loss, the Lady Bears dropped to 0-5 for just the second time in the history of the program, matching the start of MSU’s 1975-76 squad.
Next up, Missouri State will hit the road for a Sunday afternoon game against #17 DePaul in Chicago. Game time is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.