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MSU Freshman guard Tyonna Snow (22) holds the basketball high against Indiana State in the second half of action Friday night at JQH Arena
The Indiana State Sycamores withstood a comeback attempt by the MSU Lady Bears, winning 71-67 Friday night at JQH Arena in Springfield.
The Lady Bears had momentum early in the contest, going ahead by seven, 16-9 on senior Whitney Edie's layup with 10:16 left in the first half.
But Indiana State took its first lead of the night with 6:31 to go in the half when Anna Munn hit a shot for the Sycamores.
That was quickly countered by back to back three pointers from Hannah Wilkerson and Edie and the Lady Bears went ahead 23-18 with 5:50 to play.
After ISU went on an 8-0 run, redshirt freshman Kenzie Williams tied the game 26-26 on a three pointer with 3:38 left in the half.
Then came what looked like the break Missouri State needed. Indiana State's Marina Laramie was whistled for a foul against NiJay Gaines, then shoved the sophomore and picked up a technical foul with 3:04 to play in the half. Gaines made two free throws, and junior Karly Buer hit two more from the charity stripe to cap a 7-0 MSU run, giving the home team a 30-26 lead.
But it didn't last. The Sycamores' Taylor Whitley hit a layup and was fouled with 1:09 on the clock, then made her free throw and capped off a 9-0 run for the visitors, who grabbed a 35-30 lead.
Whitley was fouled again with four tenths of a second left on the clock and drained both free throws to put her team ahead 39-32 at the half.
Munn hit two more three pointers in the opening three minutes of the second half as Indiana State opened up a 47-34 lead with 17:26 remaining.
MSU chipped away over the next 11 minutes, pressuring defensively and forcing turnovers by ISU.
The Lady Bears tied the contest 56-56 on Wilkerson's shot with 6:18 left in regulation.
But Missouri State couldn't get the lead back although they pulled within two points several times in the closing minutes.
Wilkerson, Buer, and Williams each missed three point attempts in the final minute with their team down by four points, and Munn's two free throws with seven seconds left sealed the win for Indiana State.
Wilkerson addressed her failed attempt at a three: "We were wide open, but mine, I probably should have attacked and just got a quick layup. But it's kind of a tight spot. You don't know if you need the three or you need a two. But I probably should have got a layup out of mine."
MSU Head Coach Nyla Milleson says there was plenty of time to take a different approach. "When you're down four, we talked about going to the hole and getting a layup. I don't think we needed to launch a 40 footer, but we did. So hopefully if we're in this same situation again, we'll handle it a little bit better."
Milleson calls the loss "very frustrating, very disappointed. We can't seem to get 40 minutes put together."
She says the trouble really started at the end of the first half and carried over past the intermission. "We come out of the locker room flat, and give up a big run. All of a sudden, we're down 13. I am proud of the effort we showed to get back in, but we took a couple of really really poor shot selections. Our basketball I-Q is struggling. We're just not doing a very good job taking things from the practice floor onto the game floor."
Edie says her team will bounce back, but is going through a rough stretch right now. "A loss is never fun. We've just got to believe in each other and stay together."
"We're still putting the pieces together," Wilkerson says. "I think we're fine. We have a great team. Bouncing back against Illinois State will be great. We definately need a win. We'll get to practicing tomorrow."
Edie scored 19 points in a losing effort to lead Missouri State. Freshman Tyonna Snow chipped in ten points.
Munn had a game high 27 points for ISU, who had three players in double figures.
The Sycamores outrebounded the Lady Bears 39-26 and shot 50% from the field (27-54). MSU shot 41.8% (23-55).
With the loss, the Lady Bears drop to 10-10 on the season, 2-6 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Sycamores improve to 12-7, 4-4.
MSU will play the second of four straight games at home Sunday afternoon, taking on Illinois State in a 2:05 tipoff.
At halftime of Sunday's contest, Missouri State will retire a jersey for legendary women's basketball coach Cheryl Burnett, and MSU women's athletics pioneers will be honored as part of the university's Title IX 40th anniversary celebration. That will take place during a pregame ceremony about 20 minutes before tipoff.
Friday night's announced attendance at JQH Arena was 3,130. That's the biggest home crowd of the season for the Lady Bears. The previous high was 2,707 for the home opener against Oklahoma State on November 13th.
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