Missouri State ready for Saturday test at Oral Roberts



After splitting a pair of home games last week, the Missouri State Lady Bears (1-7) take to the road for a 7:05 p.m. matchup against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (6-2) Saturday (Dec. 15) in Tulsa.

Missouri State will try to correct its course after a 69-51 loss to Saint Louis on Friday (Dec. 7), while the Golden Eagles will be going for their third victory in a row. The Lady Bears picked up their first win of the season with a 72-61 win over Tulsa on Dec. 4, following six straight losses to open the season.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast locally in Springfield on KTXR 101.3 FM and on the web at www.radiospringfield.com. It will also be the second of eight Lady Bear games in 2007-08 that will be televised on Mediacom (MCC-14) in Springfield. Live stats will be available at Oral Roberts’ athletics website, www.orugoldeneagles.com.

Last Time Out: On a night that saw Missouri State honor its two Final Four teams from 1992 and 2001, the Saint Louis Billikens did most of the celebrating, coming away with a decisive 69-51 victory over the Lady Bears to halt an eight-game losing streak in the series with MSU.

The Billikens dominated the post throughout, shooting a season-high .533 from the field, while outrebounding MSU by a 41-29 margin and outscoring the Lady Bears 42-20 in the paint to improve to 3-6 on the season.

Sophomore guard Theresa Lisch led the way for the Billikens with a 17-point, nine-rebound effort in her first game of season after missing SLU’s first eight games due to injury. Sophomore center Amanda Kemezys also posted a strong performance, totaling 16 points to go along with six rebounds.

MSU could not take advantage of SLU’s 16 turnovers in the opening stanza and left the door open wide enough for the visitors to seize control of the game. The Billikens outscored the Lady Bears 19-7 over a nine-minute stretch and grabbed a 30-27 halftime lead on the strength of a 26-16 advantage in points scored in the paint. The Billikens extended their advantage early in the second half by outscoring MSU 19-8 over the first 10 minutes of the period to build a 14-point cushion. MSU never really got its offense in gear after the break, shooting just .273 from the floor after intermission.

The Lady Bears were able to cut the deficit to eight points with just over eight minutes remaining, but the Billikens got a three-pointer from the left corner from Lisch and never looked back. Lisch tallied 15 points in the second half alone, including 12 in the final 6:54.

Junior forward Maggie Dwyer finished with a game-high 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and Roxy Stiles turned in a 10-point night to lead the Lady Bears, who shot just .328 (20-of-61) from the field and made only 9-of-33 field-goal attempts in the second half.

The Coaches: Nyla Milleson (Kansas State, ’85) is 1-7 in her first season as the head coach at Missouri State and 186-43 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.

Jerry Finkbeiner (Southern Nazarene, ’80) is 183-147 in his 12th year at Oral Roberts and 382-181 overall in 19 seasons as a collegiate head coach. During his tenure, the Golden Eagles have made four NCAA Tournament appearances and posted three 20-win seasons. Prior to taking over at ORU, Finkbeiner led Southern Nazarene to the NAIA national title three straight years and a combined 99-4 record from 1994 to 1996.

Series Record: ORU holds a 5-3 advantage in the series with the Lady Bears, but has dropped the last three meetings.

In the two schools’ last meeting, the Lady Bears defeated the Golden Eagles, 90-85 to cap a memorable trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on Dec. 20, 2005. Tiff Terwelp scored 16 of her then-career-high 24 points in the second half, and Kari Koch hit 10 three-pointers to give MSU the Fun in the Sun Shootout title.

Scouting Oral Roberts: The Golden Eagles return four starters and six letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 22-11 and won the Mid-Con championship. Second-team all-conference performer Jenny Hardin leads ORU with a 15.4 ppg. average through the first eight games of 2007-08. Hardin was the Golden Eagles’ second-leading scorer and rebounder a year ago and is shooting a team-high .458 from the floor. The Golden Eagles’ top three-point threat, junior guard Rachel Watman is second on the club with a 13.7 ppg. average while shooting .364 from beyond the arc. Junior guard Mariana Camargo (10.8 ppg./5.4 apg.) and sophomore forward Janae Voelker (10.4 ppg./7.0 rpg.) lead ORU in assists and rebounding, respectively.

Oral Roberts knocked off South Dakota State and North Dakota State last week to start the conference season. The Golden Eagles won their first four contests of the year, defeating Cameron, Tulsa, Northern Colorado and Central Arkansas, before falling to Texas Southern and Boise State. ORU is a perfect 4-0 at home this year.

As a team Oral Roberts is scoring at a 65.8 ppg. clip while holding the opposition to just 55.4 points per outing.

The Golden Eagles have been tough on the defensive end, limiting their opponents to just .353 shooting from the field and just .270 from three-point range, while forcing 23.4 turnovers per game.

One Down: MSU’s 72-61 victory over Tulsa on Dec. 4 allowed the Lady Bears to cross a number of items off their to do list, including:

►posting their first win of the 2007-08 season after six straight losses to begin the campaign;

►giving new head coach Nyla Milleson her first win at MSU and as a Division I head coach;

►halting a school record-tying 10-game losing streak dating back to February of 2007;

►ending a four-game home losing streak, their longest since the 1985-86 season;

No Cupcakes Here: Missouri State’s first seven non-conference opponents have combined to go 40-26 (.606) in 2007-08. The Lady Bears’ schedule has produced two games against ranked opponents (#22 Texas and #17 DePaul), and all but Tulsa (2-8) and Saint Louis (3-6) of MSU’s eight opponents thus far are at the .500 mark or better.

A Look at the Numbers: Two Lady Bears rank among the Missouri Valley Conference’s statistical leaders through the first quarter of the season. Tiff Terwelp is the league’s second-leading rebounder with an 8.1 average, while Maggie Dwyer has the fourth-highest three-point field-goal percentage (.462) to date.

As a team Missouri State leads the Valley in rebounding offense at 41.8 rpg., but ranks last in rebounding defense at 42.8 rpg. The Lady Bears are fourth in field-goal percentage defense (.412) and second in blocked shots (3.13 bpg.).

Missouri State ranks either last or next-to-last in 11 categories, including scoring offense, scoring defense, scoring margin, free-throw percentage, field-goal percentage, three-point field-goal percentage, assists, steals, turnover margin, assist-to-turnover margin and rebounding defense.

Double Trouble: A Lady Bear has finished in double figures in rebounding in each of MSU’s last six contests. Four different players have posted double-digit rebound games in that span, and three of those have registered point-rebound double-doubles, including Tiff Terwelp (vs. Arkansas State), Jacque Griggs (vs. UALR) and Maggie Dwyer (vs. Tulsa). In all, seven Lady Bears have established new single-game rebounding highs so far in 2007-08.

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 11 contests on the road and their last 12 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 31 games away from Hammons.

Climbing the Charts: With her 17-point effort versus UTSA (Nov. 29), Tahnee Balerio topped the 900 career point mark and moved up to the No. 20 spot on the Lady Bears’ career scoring chart. Balerio’s first field goal of the night against the Roadrunners with 17:04 to play in the first half pushed her past Lynne Miller and Kimberly Scoggin, who previously shared the 20th spot at 891 career points. Balerio needs 38 more points to reach Gail Beck in the No.19 spot on the chart and 73 points to become the 19th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

Balerio on Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Watch List: In recognition of her accomplishments both on and off the court, senior guard Tahnee Balerio has been selected as one of 30 initial candidates for the 2007-08 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for women’s basketball.

Lowe’s Senior CLASS (an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School) Award recognizes college senior athletes who remain committed to their university and pursue the many rewards that a senior season can bring.

Balerio is one of 30 candidates in the running for the 2008 women’s basketball award, for which 10 finalists will be selected in early February. The winner will be announced at the Women’s Final Four in Tampa, Fla., during the weekend of April 5-6.

MSU vs. Ranked Opponents: With its 80-48 loss at #17 DePaul on Dec. 2, Missouri State dropped to 0-2 vs. ranked opponents on the season. The Lady Bears are now 19-36 all-time versus ranked opponents and have lost 10 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).

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.

Dwyer Honored: Junior forward Maggie Dwyer was named the MVC Newcomer of the Week (Dec. 10) for her efforts versus Tulsa and Saint Louis. Dwyer averaged a team-best 15 points to go along with six boards as Missouri State split its two contests against the Golden Hurricane and Billikens.

Against Tulsa (Dec. 4) she scored 10 of her 12 points during a 34-13 Missouri State run that turned a 10-point deficit into a 42-31 halftime lead for the Lady Bears. Dwyer notched her first double-double as a Lady Bear, totaling a game-high 10 rebounds in the eventual 72-61 victory over the Golden Hurricane, MSU’s first of the season following six straight losses to start the campaign.

The Grand Haven, Mich., native followed up that effort with an 18-point performance versus Saint Louis on Friday (Dec. 7). She converted 6-of-12 field-goal attempts in all and scored seven of her 12 first-half points in the first eight minutes of the game to help Missouri State build an early seven-point advantage.

The Ides of December: Missouri State is 0-3 in contests played on December 15, with all three setbacks coming on the road. Wichita State (1979), Kansas State (1989) and TCU (2001) all claimed lopsided victories over the Lady Bears in their three previous December 15 games.

On this Date in Lady Bears History: December 15, 2001 - TCU 77, Missouri State 44 - The Lady Bears’ offense struggled to find its groove, as MSU shot .234 from the field and hit just 1-of-11 three-point efforts in falling to the Horned Frogs. Sandora Irvin posted a double-double, scoring 17 points to go along with 15 rebounds. Charlotte Nelson was the only Lady Bear to finish in double figures, scoring 10 points in a forgettable trip to Fort Worth.

Balerio Cracks Career Top 10 Lists: Senior guard Tahnee Balerio passed Jamie Bartlett for the No. 6 spot on MSU’s career top 10 chart for three-point field-goal attempts with her only attempt of the night against Saint Louis (Dec. 7). She enters Saturday’s game needing 49 more tries to reach the fifth spot on the chart, currently held by Sarah Klaassen.

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 105 career threes, which is 15 shy of 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.

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.

Lord, Wyett Leave Lady Bears: Sophomore center Ashley Lord and junior forward Breton Wyett have elected to leave the Lady Bear program.

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.

Wyett was the Lady Bears' second-leading scorer last year, averaging 10.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per outing while shooting a team-high .462 from the field. She led the Missouri Valley Conference in blocks per game with a 1.96 average and recorded 45 blocks in all, the fourth-highest single-season total in MSU history. Wyett leaves Missouri State as the program's No. 2 all-time shot-blocker with 96 career rejections.

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.

Through their first eight games, the Lady Bears are averaging 20.5 giveaways per contest.

700/600 Club: Tiff Terwelp become the 12th Lady Bear to reach the career 700-point, 600-rebound plateau when she grabbed a team-high 10 boards in MSU’s loss to UTSA (Nov. 29). The Quincy, Ill., native surpassed the 700-point mark with a nine-point effort vs. Green Bay on Nov. 17.

She is now 12th all-time on the school’s rebounding list with 623 for her career. Terwelp also moved onto the Missouri State career scoring list when she scored her 733rd career point vs. DePaul (Dec. 2) to move past Meg Tierney for the 30th spot. She currently needs 70 points to reach Jessie McVay at No. 29 with 810 points.

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.

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.

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.

Personnel: The 2007-08 Lady Bears’ roster includes two seniors, three juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen. The 11-member group includes four 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. Sophomore guard Melissa Busby also returns for MSU following a strong debut campaign. 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.

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 1,941,015 spectators for Lady Bear games over the 32-year history of Hammons Student Center, meaning the Lady Bears must average 5,899 over their final 10 home dates this season to reach the two million mark for total attendance in the building.

Home Sweet Hammons: The Lady Bears are 320-105 (.753) 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. 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.

Missouri State All-Time: Missouri State is in its 39th season of women’s collegiate basketball and has an all-time record of 654-443 (.596) for a total of 1,096 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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