Lady Bears to square off against Canisius for first time



The Missouri State Lady Bears (1-8) will wrap up the home portion of their 2007-08 non-conference schedule Friday evening when they welcome the Canisius Golden Griffins (4-6) to Hammons Student Center for a 7:05 p.m. contest.

Friday’s game will be the first meeting between the two schools, as well as the Lady Bears’ first-ever matchup against a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference program.

Missouri State enters play Friday at 1-8 on the season following a 96-79 setback at Oral Roberts on Saturday (Dec. 15). Canisius is 4-6 after a 67-55 loss at Saint Louis Wednesday (Dec. 19) night. The Golden Griffins won three straight after a season-opening loss against nationally-ranked West Virginia, but have dropped five of their last six games.

Last Time Out: The Lady Bears fought back from a 28-point second-half deficit, but Oral Roberts was able to withstand the challenge by shooting .547 from the field to come away with a 96-79 victory.

Melissa Busby and Maggie Dwyer came through in the second half to lead MSU’s comeback bid. Busby totaled 10 points over a three-minute span, including seven straight at one point, as MSU closed to within 85-75 with just over two minutes to play. The sophomore guard went 7-of-13 from the field on the night, including 6-of-11 from beyond the arc, and converted 4-of-4 free-throw attempts to tally 24 points, while grabbing three rebounds and recording a pair of steals. Like Busby, Dwyer surpassed her career scoring high, finishing with 23 points, as well as a team-high seven rebounds and three steals. The Grand Haven, Mich., product scored 16 points while connecting on 6-of-9 field-goal attempts in the second half alone to help MSU climb back into the game.

Missouri State was successful on 14-of-29 three-point tries in the game, the most by a Lady Bear team since MSU’s last meeting with Oral Roberts on December 20, 2005, when it went 16-of-34 from beyond the arc.

The Coaches: Nyla Milleson (Kansas State, ’85) is 1-8 in her first season as the head coach at Missouri State and 186-44 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.

Terry Zeh (St. Bonaventure, ’90) is 59-41 in his fourth year at Canisius and overall as a collegiate head coach. Zeh led the Golden Griffins to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in his first season at the helm (2004-05) and was the second-fastest head coach in Canisius history to reach the 50-win plateau.

Series Record:
Friday’s matchup will be the first between the Lady Bears and Golden Griffins. It also marks the first time Missouri State has played a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Scouting Canisius: The Golden Griffins return two starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s 16-14 squad that finished sixth in the MAAC.

Following a freshman campaign that netted her a spot on the MAAC All-Rookie Team, sophomore guard Brittan Russell leads the Golden Griffins in scoring (12.6 ppg.) and assists (2.8 apg.), while ranking 10th nationally in steals per game (3.9). Junior guard Amanda Cavo (10.7 ppg.) is the top three-point threat for Canisius, despite struggling to find her range with just a .283 shooting percentage from beyond the arc through the first 10 games of 2007-08. Junior forward JJ Williams chips in 7.6 points per contest, while senior center and Springfield Kickapoo product Laura Buetow is scoring at a 7.7 ppg. clip and leads the club with a 6.8 rpg. average. Freshman guard Micayla Drysdale has been in her debut campaign for the Golden Griffins, hitting 52 percent of her three-point tries and contributing 6.9 points per outing.

As a team Canisius has been strong on the defensive end, limiting its opponents to a .368 field-goal percentage and just 62.6 points per game. But the Golden Griffins have been outrebounded by nearly five boards per outing and have turned the ball over 198 times for an average of 19.8 per game.

Mags to Riches: Junior forward Maggie Dwyer has found her shooting stroke over the Lady Bears’ last four contests. While averaging a team-high 17.0 points per game over that stretch, Dwyer has shot .462 from the field, including a red-hot .571 from three-point range after connecting on just 28.6 percent of her field-goal attempts in Missouri State’s first five games of the season. She has also averaged 30.3 minutes per outing, also a team high, while pulling down 5.8 boards per contest in her last four games.

No Cupcakes Here: Missouri State’s first nine non-conference opponents have combined to go 54-33 (.621) 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 (4-7) of MSU’s nine opponents thus far are at the .500 mark or above.

A Look at the Numbers: Two Lady Bears rank among the Missouri Valley Conference’s statistical leaders through the first quarter of the season. Maggie Dwyer leads the MVC in three-point field-goal percentage (.500), while Tiff Terwelp is the league’s fourth-leading rebounder with a 7.6 rpg. average. Additionally, Terwelp and Jacque Griggs rank second and third, respectively, in offensive rebounds.

As a team Missouri State leads the Valley in rebounding offense at 40.9 rpg., but ranks last in rebounding defense at 43.2 rpg. The Lady Bears are fifth in field-goal percentage defense (.428) and third in blocked shots (3.11 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.

Injury Report: Freshman guard Janette Jackson is suffering from a fibular stress fracture in her left leg that forced her to the sideline Saturday against Oral Roberts. She is expected to miss Friday night’s contest as well.

For the Record Books: The Lady Bears’ 96-79 loss at Oral Roberts (Dec. 15) will be remembered for several significant individual performances that left their mark on the Missouri State record book. Melissa Busby’s six treys matched seven other performances by a Lady Bear for the 10th-most three-point field goals made in a single game. Melody Howard (twice), Tina Robbins (12/5/93 at Iowa), Jackie Stiles (twice) and Kari Koch (twice) also buried six triples in a game for MSU.

Tahnee Balerio’s seven steals marked a new career high for the senior point guard and equaled the single-game efforts of 13 other Lady Bears for the seventh-best all-time performance in school history. Additionally, Balerio’s 12 assists matched her career best in that category (2/23/06 vs. Creighton) and ranks as the No. 10 single-game total, along with 11 other such performances by MSU players.

Century Mark for Terwelp: Senior forward Tiff Terwelp played in her 100th career contest for Missouri State in the loss at Oral Roberts (Dec. 15), becoming the 34th Lady Bear to top the century mark in games played. Fellow senior Tahnee Balerio needs just four more games to reach the 100-game plateau for her MSU career.

Double Trouble: A Lady Bear has finished in double figures in rebounding in six of MSU’s last seven 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, eight Lady Bears have established new single-game rebounding highs so far in 2007-08.

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 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.

Adams Arrives: The Lady Bears received a boost with the addition of Jamie Adams, a two-year MSU volleyball starter who began practicing with the Lady Bears the week of Dec. 10. Adams scored four points, grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and recorded two blocks in her Lady Bear debut vs. Oral Roberts on Saturday (Dec. 15).

Adams, who will have two years of basketball eligibility, earned second-team All-MVC honors in 2006 and 2007 and helped the volleyball Bears to three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

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.

On this Date in Lady Bears History: December 21, 1992 - Missouri State 80, Pepperdine 76 - Missouri State claimed third place at the Hawaii Paradise Classic by jumping out to an early lead then fighting off several Pepperdine comeback bids. The Lady Bears scored the first nine points of the contest and led 43-35 at halftime behind Secilia Winkfield’s 14 points. Pepperdine closed to within 74-70 with 0:47 left in regulation, but MSU hit all six of its free-throw attempts down the stretch to cement the win. Melody Howard scored 28 points, making 12-of-13 from the charity stripe in the second half. Winkfield added 20 and recorded her 1,000th career point midway through the first half.

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.

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 33 more points to reach Gail Beck in the No.19 spot on the chart and 68 points to become the 19th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Tiff Terwelp also broke into the top 30 when she scored her 731st career point vs. DePaul (Dec. 2) to move past Meg Tierney for the 30th spot.

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.

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;

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 47 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.

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.

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 11th all-time on the school’s rebounding list with 626 for her career after passing Sharon Zeilmann (625) with three boards in the loss at Oral Roberts (Dec. 15). Terwelp needs 22 more rebounds to crack the top 10.

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 654-444 (.596) for a total of 1,098 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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