Missouri State Lady Bears (1-4) vs. Green Bay Phoenix (5-0)
When: Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. Where: Kress Events Center, Green Bay, Wis. Radio: KTXR 101.3 FM Live Stats: www.missouristatebears.com Video: www.horizonleaguenetwork.tv
The Missouri State Lady Bears (1-4) begin the toughest portion of their non-conference schedule Wednesday (Dec. 3) evening when they match-up agianst an unbeaten University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (5-0) squad at Kress Events Center in Green Bay, Wis. The Lady Bears are entering a stretch that includes four straight contests against teams that appeared in the postseason in 2007-08. After Wednesday’s game, MSU has home tilts with Western Kentucky (Dec. 7), DePaul (Dec. 10) and UALR (Dec. 14) on the slate before wrapping up non-conference play with a pair of contests in the Caribbean Classic in Cancun, Mexico (Dec. 19-20).
Missouri State has won just one of its first five games, although three of its four setbacks have come by single-digit margins. MSU is coming off a disappointing 68-53 loss at Saint Louis Saturday (Nov. 29) and will be looking to stop a two-game skid and a six-game road losing streak Wednesday.
Green Bay, on the other hand, has been red-hot to start the 2008-09 season, posting home wins over Chicago State, Drake and North Dakota after road wins against Florida International and Miami (Fla.) to start the campaign. The Phoenix will be attempting to match its best start to a season since joining the Division I ranks in 1987.
-Missouri State will be seeking to avenge a 78-68 setback to Green Bay last November in Springfield, and its first-ever win over the Phoenix
-The Lady Bears will attempt to snap a six-game road losing streak, dating back to their Feb. 10, 2008 loss at Evansville
-MSU has forced at least 19 turnovers in each of its five contests this season, recording 20 or more takeaways in four of those outings
Last Time Out
Saint Louis took advantage of some early Missouri State charity to open up a double-digit lead late in the first half and never looked back to claim a 68-53 victory in Saturday (Nov. 29) night’s non-conference match-up with the Lady Bears in St. Louis. Junior guard Theresa Lisch led four Billikens in double figures with a game-high 20 points, as the home team forced 26 turnovers in all to send MSU to its fourth loss in five games this season.
Despite shooting just 34.4 percent (11-of-32) from the field in the game’s first 20 minutes, the Billikens converted 12 of their 17 tries from the free throw line and forced 14 first-half turnovers to establish a lead they would never relinquish.
Missouri State once again got off to a slow start offensively, going nearly five minutes without a field goal at the onset of the contest. SLU grabbed an early 6-0 lead, but freshman guard Casey Garrison responded with four straight points for the Lady Bears to trim the deficit to two. SLU proceeded to score 16 of the next 21 points to extend its lead to 22-11 on an Amanda Kemezys basket with 7:28 to play in the half.
The Lady Bears used a 7-2 spurt, capped by a Roxy Stiles three-pointer, to pull to within six points at the 5:56 mark.
But the Bills ended the half on an 11-5 run, getting a Lauren Woods lay-in with just one second left on the clock to head into the break with a 35-23 advantage. Saint Louis picked up right where it left off to open the second half, outscoring the Lady Bears 9-1 to push its lead to 20 points on a jumper by Alisha Goodwin wtih 14:02 to go.
The Lady Bears used a 10-4 scoring run to drew to within 11 points with just under four minutes remaining, but SLU sealed their second win of the season by reeling off nine of the next 11 points.
The Billikens heated up from the field in the second half, hitting on 12-of-22 (.545) attempts, while MSU continued to search for its rhythm. The Lady Bears knocked down just 7-of-21 tries after intermission to finish the game only 15-of-42 from the floor. SLU also made the Lady Bears pay for some turnover troubles, turning 26 MSU giveaways into a 27-13 advantage in points off turnovers for the contest.
Goodwin (14 points), Kemezys (13) and Woods (10) also finished in double figures for the Bills.
Garrison led the Lady Bears in scoring for the third straight game, finishing with 14 points on the strength of an 8-of-9 effort from the foul line, while Maggie Dwyer tallied a season-high 13 points.
Nyla Milleson (Kansas State, ’85) is in her second season as the head coach at Missouri State with an 12-23 mark as the Lady Bears’ mentor and an overall record of 197-59 in eight years as a collegiate head coach. Milleson led the Lady Bears to an 11-19 mark and a fifth-place Missouri Valley Conference finish in 2007-08. Prior to taking the reins of the MSU program, the Goodland, Kan., native guided Drury University to a 185-36 record 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, advancing 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. (See page 7 for a complete bio)
Matt Bollant (Winona State, ’94) is 31-6 in his second season as head coach at Green Bay and 165-44 overall after successfully guiding the Phoenix to a 26-6 overall mark and its 10th straight conference crown last season en route to earning Horizon League Co-Coach of the Year honors. Prior to taking over the Green Bay program, Bollant compiled a 134-38 record in five seasons as head coach at Bryan (Tenn.) College, where he led the Lady Lions to NAIA national tournament appearances in each of his last four seasons.
The Phoenix took the only previous meeting between the two schools, a 78-68 decision on November 17, 2008, at Hammons Student Center in Springfield, in which Green Bay--the nation’s top three-point shooting team--connected on 56.3 percent of its attempts from beyond the arc.
Green Bay scored the final 12 points of the first half to overcome a 10-point deficit and take control of the ballgame. Celeste Hoewisch scored five straight points for the visitors to spark a 39-13 run that would ultimately allow the Phoenix to build a 17-point lead just minutes into the second half.
The Phoenix got eight points from Lavesa Glover in the first six minutes of the second half to stretch its lead to 56-39. Missouri State would draw to within nine points at the 4:53 mark on a Maggie Dwyer three-pointer and twice cut the margin to eight in the final minute of the game.
But the Phoenix cashed in at the free throw line to put the game away, converting 14-of-17 attempts in the second half. Kayla Groh was 6-of-7 from the line in the final five minutes of play and scored 11 of her 15 points in the second stanza.
Scouting Green Bay
Green Bay has blitzed through its early-season non-conference slate, posting double-digit wins in four of its five games. The Phoenix, which received one vote in this week’s AP poll, has gotten the job done with the nation’s 10th-best scoring defense (49.6 ppg.) and a balanced offensive attack that features six players averaging eight points or better. Leading the pack is senior forward Rachel Porath (10.6 ppg./4.2 rpg.), who is shooting .548 from the floor and .450 from three-point range. The Luxemburg, Wis., native is one of four starters and 10 letterwinners back from last year’s 26-6 club that set a Horizon League record with a 17-1 conference mark. A first-team all-Horizon League pick in 2007-08, Porath was a big reason why the Phoenix led all of Division I in three-point field goal percentage (.428) for the third time in the last 14 seasons. Another returning starter, 6-3 center Lavesa Glover (10.2 ppg./50.0 FG%) was a second-team all-conference selection a year ago after averaging 13.3 points per game and ranking 15th in the country in field goal percentage (56.4%). Senior point guard Kati Harty (9.4 ppg./4.4 apg.) is Green Bay’s leader in assists and steals while shooting over 48 percent from the floor. She is a also perfect 16-for-16 from the charity stripe so far this season. Last year Harty started all 32 games for Green Bay, hitting over 42 percent of her three-point tries while ranking among the Horizon League’s leaders in assists and steals per game.
As a team, Green Bay is outscoring its opponents by nearly 16 points per game, the 32nd-best scoring margin in the nation. The Phoenix is also among the top teams in the country in field goal percentage (28th), three-point field goal percentage (56th) and three-point field goal percentage defense (sixth).
The Phoenix enjoys an added advantage in the form of its home court, Kress Events Center. UWGB is 18-2 all-time in the building and an astounding 226-44 in the city of Green Bay as a Division I program, good for an .837 win percentage. Green Bay was picked to once again win the Horizon League in the conference’s preseason poll. The Phoenix have posted 31 consecutive winning seasons and have made trips to the postseason 11 straight years, while winning at least 20 games in each of the last nine seasons.
Stealing the Show
Freshman guard Jasmine Malone is one of Missouri State’s six newcomers who have had an immediate impact in the season’s first month. The San Antonio, Texas, native is currently tied with Bradley’s Skye Johnson for the Missouri Valley Conference lead in steals per game (2.2).
As a team Missouri State leads the Valley in steals per game (12.4) by a sizable margin and ranks 22nd in the nation in that same category. Bradley is second in the MVC with an 8.8 spg. average.
After compiling a 325-108 record in Hammons Student Center over the last 32 seasons, the Lady Bears dedicated their new $67 million home facility, JQH Arena, Nov. 23, with a 61-52 win over
The “Q” is the fourth regular home of Missouri State women’s basketball in the 40-year history of the program. The Lady Bears utilized both McDonald Arena and the Greenwood Laboratory School gym from 1969 until Hammons Student Center opened in 1976. MSU continued to play some of its home games at McDonald through the 1979-80 season.
The Lady Bears dropped their first game at Hammons to Iowa State by an 81-62 score on Dec. 11, 1976.
Missouri State will be looking to add to its streak of 18 consecutive seasons ranked in the top 20 nationally in average attendance, which includes the 1992-93 campaign when the Lady Bears led all of Division I in that category. Last year, MSU averaged 5,158 fans per home game, good for 20th in the nation.
The Lady Bears’ new home was made possible by a $30 million gift from MSU alumnus John Q. Hammons and will feature seating for more than 11,000 fans, 24 suites, the PRIME Overtime Club and the Missouri State University Hall of Fame and Legacy of Competition.
Freshman guard Casey Garrison capped a week that saw the Lady Bears christen a new home and earn their first win of the 2008-09 season by picking up the Missouri Valley Conference’s Newcomer of the Week award for the period November 17-23, the league office announced Monday (Nov. 24).
Garrison’s 21-point, seven-rebound performance paved the way for Missouri State’s 61-52 win over Arkansas State Sunday (Nov 23) in their inaugural game at JQH Arena. The 5-11 freshman went 7-of-15 from the field and 5-of-5 from the foul line and scored eight of her game- and career-high 21 points during a 15-0 Missouri State scoring run at the start of the second half that turned the tide in what was a 28-28 game at intermission. The Bolivar, Mo., product also knocked down a critical 18-footer with 1:57 left in the game that gave MSU a 54-50 lead moments after the Red Wolves had cut what was once a 16-point margin to just two points.
Her performance Sunday came on the heels of a 10-point, four-assist effort against Tulsa on Wednesday (Nov. 19) night. In that contest, a 64-56 Lady Bear loss, Garrison also grabbed seven boards to lead MSU in rebounding for the second straight game.
For the week, she went 11-of-23 (.478) from the field and 6-of-7 (.857) from the free throw line and led Missouri State in scoring (15.5) and assists (2.5), while pulling down 7.0 rebounds per outing.
New Look Lady Bears
For the third consecutive season, two Missouri State freshman found their way into the starting lineup in a season opener. Casey Garrison and Jasmine Malone each drew starting assignments versus SEMO on Nov. 14, as six Lady Bear freshmen in all made their MSU debuts against the Redhawks.
Jaleshia Roberson and Lacey Boshe cracked the MSU starting lineup Sunday versus Arkansas State, and combined with Garrison, Malone and fellow freshman Regan Soldner to total 53 of the Lady Bears’ 61 points. Including the 37 points scored by freshmen against Oral Roberts (Nov. 26), Lady Bear rookies have combined to account for 80.4 percent of MSU’s offense the past two games.
In spite of their 1-4 start, the Lady Bears have been solid on the defensive end of the court, holding the opposition to an average of 61.4 points per game. MSU leads the Missouri Valley Conference in steals (12.4 spg.), while ranking second in scoring defense, three-point field goal percentage defense (.258), and third in field goal percentage defense (.384). The Lady Bears have forced at least 19 turnovers in each of their first five games, registering 20 or more in four of those contests.
Turning the Page
The Lady Bears combined with Arkansas State to commit 56 turnovers in Sunday’s game. That figure represents the most turnovers recorded in a Missouri State game in nearly seven years, dating back to a Dec. 29, 2001 match-up with Bradley. The Lady Bears’ 34 turnovers against ASU just missed the MSU single-game record for giveaways held by the 1988-89 squad, which committed 37 against Indiana State in a 107-103 quadruple overtime loss (1/28/89). The Missouri State single-game record in a non-overtime contest is 36, recorded on Nov. 29, 1998, in a 79-59 setback to Old Dominion.
With their win over Arkansas State on Nov. 23, the Lady Bears stopped a seven-game losing streak in the month of November. MSU has won just nine of its 27 games in November since the start of the 2002-03 season, but maintains a 45-44 record in the month since making the move to Division I in 1982.
The Lady Bears’ fortunes on the road in the first month of the season have been even more dire. Missouri State has lost 17 consecutive road contests in November, dating back to an 85-47 pasting of Missouri-St. Louis on November 26, 1983.
On the Road Again
Missouri State has found the road to be an unfriendly place over the last four seasons. With its loss at Saint Louis on Nov. 29, MSU has gone just 5-36 in road contests since 2004-05 and, including neutral court contests, has lost 40 out of its last 45 games away from home. Three of those five road wins came during a three-week span last January and February, when the Lady Bears knocked off UNI (1/17/08), Bradley (1/19/08) and Southern Illinois (2/8/08). MSU’s three road wins last year was the most recorded by a Lady Bear squad since the 2004-05 campaign.
Lou on the Loose
Freshman guard Jaleshia Roberson’s 13 points against SEMO in the Lady Bears’ season opener (Nov. 14) led all MSU scorers, marking the first time a Lady Bear freshman has led the team in scoring in her debut game since Sarah Klaassen scored 23 points against Tulsa on November 15, 2002.
Roberson came through with an even bigger effort Nov. 23 in the Lady Bears’ win over Arkansas State. She posted career highs in a number of statistical categories, including points (16), rebounds (3), free throws (6), three-point field goals (2), assists (3) and blocks (2).
Buzz Bounces Back
One positive that came from MSU’s loss at Tulsa (Nov. 19) was the successful return of junior guard Melissa Busby from a torn ACL that had sidelined her since Feb. 14. Busby went 4-of-15 from the floor to lead the Lady Bears with 13 points and recorded a game-high four steals in 21 minutes of court time.
The Lady Bears locked up four commitments for the 2009-10 season during the NCAA’s early signing period, which ended November 19. Whitney Edie (Exeter, Mo.), Kelsey Smith (Coppell, Texas), Christiana Shorter (Tulsa, Okla.) and Alyson Stock (Nixa, Mo.) have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Missouri State women’s basketball program for the Fall 2009 semester.
Edie became the fourth and final member of the Lady Bears’ fall signing class Nov. 17. The 6-1 forward has already totaled more than 1,900 points and 1,000 rebounds for her high school career at Exeter High. Last year she averaged over 26 points and 12 boards per outing in helping Exeter to its first-ever district title in girl’s basketball. Edie has failed to reach double digits in scoring in just one of 81 games as a prep.
Shorter helped lead Booker T. Washington High School to a 23-4 overall record and the Oklahoma Class 5A state title in 2007-08, averaging 10 points and five rebounds per contest. At 6-2, Shorter brings the versatility to play the post or step out to a wing spot where she can exploit her athleticism and ability to run the floor. She chose the Lady Bears over the likes of Wichita State, Oklahoma State, Tulsa and New Mexico State.
Smith was a first-team All-District 6-5A selection last season after averaging 16.7 points, seven boards and four assists in helping Coppell High go 20-16. A versatile athlete with the strong passing and shooting abilities, Smith can play on the block as well as the perimeter, where she has the ability to stretch defenses with her shooting range.
Stock averaged just under 10 points and four boards last season in her first year playing at Nixa High. The 6-3 post helped the Lady Eagles to a 19-8 record last year. Stock originally committed to the Lady Bears during her sophomore year at Salisbury (Mo.) High School, where she was an MBCA Class 2 All-State selection in 2006-07.
Bears Live and Lady Bears Gameday Guide
Throughout the 2008-09 season, Lady Bear basketball will be shown on Missouri State’s on-line video channel, Bears Live -- a new, premium broadband video destination for exclusive live and on-demand Missouri State streaming video and audio content.
Fans wanting to watch Bears and Lady Bears basketball through the Bears Live feature can subscribe at www.missouristatebears.com.
Missouri State fans who subscribe to the Bears Live video streaming service will be able to watch 22 men’s and 20 women’s basketball games live on their computer in 2008-09. All home games will be streamed with the exception of regionally and nationally televised games.
Links to live game stats (when available) and KTXR’s free, on-line broadcast of every Missouri State women’s basketball game can be found on the Lady Bears’ Gameday page located on the MSU Athletics Web site.
On this Date...
December 2, 1998 Missouri State 87, Baylor 86 Jackie Stiles set a then-Missouri State scoring record with a 52-point performance to lead the Lady Bears to a one-point road win over Big 12 Conference foe Baylor. Stiles’ 19 field goals also represented an MSU single-game record. The monumental victory for the Lady Bears came just three days after a disheartening 79-59 setback to #9 Old Dominion. Stiles would break her own scoring record the following season when she torched Evansville for 56 points in the semifinal round of the MVC Tournament.
Lady Bear Captains
Seniors Jamie Adams, Tiffany Coppage and Maggie Dwyer will serve as tri-captains for the 2008-09 season. Coppage is a repeat choice to lead the team after filling the same role last year alongside seniors Tahnee Balerio and Tiff Terwelp.
The 2008-09 Lady Bears’ roster includes three seniors, two juniors, one sophomore and six freshmen. The 12-member group includes six returning letterwinners and six newcomers. The Lady Bears return two starters from last season, including All-MVC second-team forward Maggie Dwyer. Junior guard Melissa Busby and senior guard Tiffany Coppage also spent some time in MSU’s starting lineup in 2007-08. Other returnees include senior forward Jamie Adams, junior guard Roxy Stiles and sophomore forward Jacque Griggs. Newcomers include Lacey Boshe, Casey Garrison, Morgan Harrington, Jasmine Malone, Jaleshia Roberson and Regan Soldner. Junior guard Kendra Roberts will sit out the upcoming season after transferring to MSU from Arkansas.
The Lady Bears will have to wait until the 2009-10 season to obtain the services of junior guard Kendra Roberts, who joined the Missouri State program in June after playing her first two collegiate campaigns at the University of Arkansas.
Roberts will sit out this season per NCAA transfer guidelines and have two years of eligibility remaining.
Missouri State was picked to finish sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll of coaches, media and sports information directors. The Lady Bears received 215 points to finish behind Illinois State, Creighton, Drake, Evansville and UNI.
Illinois State became the fourth team in MVC history to be a unanimous selection as the preseason No. 1 team and the first since 2001-02 when Drake received all 37 votes from the panel. The other two unanimous choices were the 1986-87 and 1987-88 Southern Illinois squads.
Senior forward Maggie Dwyer was named to the league’s preseason all-conference team after earning second-team honors last season. The Grand Haven, Mich., native was also named MVC Newcomer of the Year in 2007-08, her first with MSU after transferring from Michigan State.
Back In Business
In going 9-9 in the MVC last season, the Lady Bears posted their first .500 finish in conference play since the 2004-05 campaign. Missouri State won at least 11 conference games in each of its first 13 years in the league, capturing eight regular-season crowns before falling to 7-11 in 2005-06 and finishing 10th at 3-15 in 2006-07.
The Lady Bears’ offensive turnaround over their last 16 conference games of 2007-08 was remarkable on several different levels. MSU outscored its opponents 70.6 to 68.6 points per game in going 9-7 over that stretch, shooting 41.1 percent from the floor, including 37.5 percent from three-point range. The Lady Bears also converted 72.3 percent of their free throws in those 16 games. In contrast, MSU was outscored by an average of 14.3 points per game in starting the season with just two wins in its first 13 games. The Lady Bears shot 34.8 percent from the field, 30.7 percent from beyond the arc and just 66.5 percent from the foul line. MSU committed an average of 3.1 fewer turnovers, recorded 2.7 more assists and 1.6 more steals per game over its last 16 contests compared to the first half of the season.
Missouri State All-Time
Missouri State is in its 40th season of women’s collegiate basketball and has an all-time record of 665-459 (.592). 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.
Missouri State Postseason Run
One or both of the MSU basketball teams have made postseason appearances in all but one of the last 23 years.
With last year’s 11-19 finish, the Lady Bears missed the postseason for just the second time since the 1996-97 season. The MSU women have seen postseason action in nine of the past 11 years and in 15 out of the last 18 seasons, dating back to the 1990-91 campaign.
Missouri State is in its 27th NCAA Division I season and 17th 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 when the Gateway underwent a rebranding initiative.