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The MSU Lady Bears turned a nine point second half deficit into a big win, beating Southern Illinois 81-74 Thursday night at JQH Arena.
Freshman Tyonna Snow had a career high 29 points to lead MSU, including a school record 18-26 at the free throw line. The previous Lady Bears record of 17 makes was set by Jackie Stiles in the Missouri Valley Tournament against Evansville on March 10th, 2000.
The Salukis held a 37-25 lead at the half, but after going ahead 64-55 with 8:06 left in regulation, SIU watched as the Lady Bears got back in the game.
Snow's free throw with 3:38 remaining game MSU a 69-68 advantage, and the home team never gave up the lead.
Whitney Edie hit a shot and was fouled with 2:54 left, draining the free throw to per her team up 72-68. The Salukis got the lead down to two with 1:49 to go, but could never pull any closer.
The Lady Bears hit seven of eight free throw attempts in the final minute to seal the victory.
Whitney Edie had a double-double for MSU, scoring 13 poins and pulling down ten rebounds. Kenzie Williams had 12 points, while Karly Buer also was in double figures with ten.
Dyana Pierre had a double-double for SIU, scoring 18 and picking up 15 rebounds.
"It wasn't the prettiest," MSU Coach Nyla Milleson said in her postgame press conference. "We were about as cold from the field as it is outside, but we found a way. I thought really the whole 40 minutes, but for sure coming down the stretch, I thought we showed a level of togetherness, and that maturity and leadership we'd been looking for. I thought we showed that tonight, because had we not, the outcome wouldn't have been the same."
Milleson says Snow keeps getting better and better. "She understands how she fits in a little bit better. She can't do the same things she did in high school. Or she can do them, but she has to do them in a little bit different way to incorporate those who are around her."
Snow says getting to the free throw line for a record 26 times wasn't necessarily in her game plan. "I really don't have a plan when I play. I kind of just do what comes." She says she thinks it was more important to get the win than breaking a record.
Williams, who missed a triple double with nine rebounds and seven assists to go with her dozen points, says she was just happy to get a win. "We got down and guarded, made free throws down the stretch, which was important, got some big rebounds, and just played well."
With the win, the Lady Bears improve to 13-13 overall, 5-9 in Missouri Valley Conference play. SIU drops to 4-20, 1-12.
MSU will play at home again Saturday night against Evansville. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:05.]
Tyonna Snow's 18 made free throws ties for the third highest total in Missouri Valley history. The record was 22, set by Drake's Lorri Baumann in a game against Northern Illinois on November 26th, 1982.
Snow's 26 free throw attempts shattered the single game mark for Missouri State, which was 20, previously held by three different players.
Snow also had seven steals Thursday night, which is the eighth highest single game total in team history.
The attendance for Thursday night's game was listed at 808, with icy roads keeping many people home.
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