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MSU's Karly Buer Guarded by Southwest Baptist University's Brittney Dukes
The Missouri State Lady Bears survived a scare from neighboring Southwest Baptist University and held on to win 68-57 in exhibition play Thursday night at JQH Arena in Springfield.
Senior forward Whitney Edie scored 23 points for MSU, while junior guard Karly Buer put in 13.
The Bearcats were led by Jacqui Zelenka's 12 points. Zelenka is a junior from Mackey, Australia.
Missouri State, who carried a 36-26 lead into halftime, extended the margin to 18 with 15:09 left in regulation on Edie's three pointer. It was one of two the Lady Bears hit from beyond the arc Thursday night.
But Southwest Baptist stayed close, cutting MSU's lead to single digits with just under seven minutes to play in the game before the Lady Bears pulled away down the stretch, thanks in part to three big buckets by junior Desiree Phillips off the bench.
Senior Christiana Shorter was held to four points in only 14 minutes of action. Lady Bears Head Coach Nyla Milleson says Shorter is dealing with some leg issues.
There was a scary moment as the game was winding down. SBU's Brittney Dukes had to be carried off the court on a stretcher after landing hard on the floor while being called for a charge with 1:53 remaining. The game was delayed about 15 minutes while Dukes was cared for by medical personnel. She was conscious and alert the entire time.
Milleson says watching what happened to Dukes was tough for her team. "We talk a lot about how you don't know what tomorrow's going to bring. Hopefully that young lady will be okay, but you don't know when the last time you're going to have that opportunity to put that uniform on. Watching somebody lie there, it is scary."
Milleson says in a word, she was disappointed with her team. "I thought we had moments that we were very good," Milleson said. "But then we followed it with spurts when we were not very good at all. I'm very disappointed with our consistency on defense. Our rotation, our help is just not very good. I thought we had some freshmen play like freshmen."
She says one of the biggest problems is a lack of leadership. "We're really, really lacking a floor leader, a general, right now to really keep us together and demand some things on the floor. Chris is doing a pretty good job but she's limited on how much we can play her."
The coach says she's not going to bring it up every game, but...."Tonight is one of those nights early in the season that we miss Casey Garrison and Jaleisha Roberson and those seniors that provide that on the floor," Milleson said. "We have great day to day leadership and on and off the floor work ethic from some people, but we've got to get that situated."
Edie, who as a senior will be counted on to be a spark for her team, shot 8-15 from the floor and went 6-9 from the free throw line. "I just came in and hit some wide open shots. My teammates got me open. I just played my role tonight." Edie says her team needs to get down on defense and communicate with each other.
Buer, who along with Edie says the team has some "housekeeping things," to take care of, adds that inexperience is a factor with this group. "I know we can't use that excuse and I don't intend to, but just knowing what other players are going to do on the court and get used to playing with them."
MSU shot only 38.7% from the floor (24-62), including two of 11 from the three point line. The Bearcats fared even worse, hitting 22-60 (36.7). The Lady Bears out-rebounded the team from Bolivar 41-37.
The Lady Bears open the season against nationally ranked Oklahoma State Tuesday night at JQH Arena. Tipoff is 7:05 p.m.
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