The Missouri State Lady Bears withstood a stiff challenge from a tough Portland State squad, getting a career-high 26 points from junior forward Tiff Terwelp in an 82-69 victory Wednesday evening at Hammons Student Center.
Terwelp went 10-of-17 from the floor and also matched a career high with 15 rebounds, as the Lady Bears outscored the Vikings 24-8 over a seven-minute stretch to turn a 58-58 tie into a 13-point victory. Five Lady Bears finished in double-figures, including junior guard Tahnee Balerio, who tallied 20 points, and freshman guard Roxy Stiles, who equaled her career-best scoring night with 14 points. Stiles knocked down a critical three-pointer with 7:04 remaining that gave Missouri State a 63-58 lead and some much-needed breathing room after allowing a double-digit lead to slip away earlier in the half.
Trailing by as many as 13 points in the opening half, Portland State rallied behind the three-point shooting of senior guard Heather Arns and junior forward Delany Conway. The duo combined to hit seven treys in the first nine minutes of the second half to erase a 35-27 halftime deficit. Arns, who finished with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc, connected on four three-pointers in the first four minutes of the half, while Conway knocked down three in a four-minute span, the last of which gave the Vikings a 54-52 lead at the 11:48 mark.
Portland State’s rally nullified the Lady Bears best shooting performance of the season in a single half. Missouri State shot 50.0% (14-of-28) from the floor and used a 14-3 run in which Balerio scored eight straight points to take a 21-8 lead mid-way through the first half.
Junior center Brianna Thompson sparked the Vikings’ offense late in the half by sinking five jumpers in-a-row to cut the Missouri State lead to eight points at the break.
The Lady Bears pushed the lead back to as many as 11 points in the opening minutes of the second stanza before Portland State’s hot-shooting duo led a 14-4 scoring run to draw the Vikings even at 49-49 on Conway’s second three-pointer of the half with 13:00 left to play.
Over the next seven minutes, Stiles and Terwelp carried the offensive load, scoring 16 of the Lady Bears’ next 17 points to ignite the late rally and send the Vikings to their fourth loss in six games.
Freshman guard Taylor Silas grabbed seven rebounds and notched her second 10-point effort since cracking the starting lineup in the Lady Bears’ loss to Arkansas State. Freshman center Ashley Lord enjoyed a near-perfect shooting night, going 3-for-4 from the field and 4-of-4 from the foul line in posting her first career double-digit scoring performance.
Terwelp’s 15-rebound night marked the fourth consecutive game in which the Quincy, Ill., native has either equaled or surpassed her single-game career high in rebounding. Her total of 57 rebounds over the last four games is the most by a Lady Bear in such a span in over 30 years.
Missouri State nearly matched its first half shooting performance over the contest's final 20 minutes, connecting on 14-of-29 field goal attempts to finish the night at 49.1% from the floor.
With their second straight win the Lady Bears improved to 2-3 heading into the finale of their current four-game homestand on Sunday, Dec. 3, when they host 17th-ranked DePaul in a 2:05 p.m. contest at Hammons.