The Missouri State Lady Bears continue to roll, getting four players in double figures and cruising to an 84-49 win over the Loyola Ramblers Friday night at JQH Arena.
The win is the ninth straight for Missouri State, who improves to 10-7 on the season and stays a perfect 6-0 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Jasmine Franklin hit a shot just eight seconds into the contest and MSU never trailed.
Loyola got the Lady Bears’ lead down to one point, 13-12 , when Janae Gonzalez hit a three pointer with 3:45 left in the first quarter and MSU finished the frame ahead 16-12.
When the home team needed yet another hero, enter freshman Sydney Manning, who exploded for 12 points in a three and a half minute stretch in the second period, and nailed three treys, putting MSU ahead by eight, 30-20.
The Lady Bears took a 38-27 lead into the half, then came out smoking in the third quarter with sophomore Brice Calip and junior Alexa Willard leading the way and helping grow MSU’s lead to 47-27 with 7:21 left in the period.
The home team dominated the rest of the way, playing great defense, coming up with steals (14 overall), and scoring on the fast break.
Missouri State also continued to get the ball down low, with 44 points in the paint to the Ramblers’ 24.
The Lady Bears made six of 17 attempts from the three point line, with Elle Ruffridge, Sydney Wilson and Manning helping balance the inside attack with outside shots.
Loyola committed 25 turnovers, and the Lady Bears outscored the Ramblers 23-2 off turnovers.
Senior Danielle Gitzen joined Manning with 12 points each, while Franklin and Calip scored 11 apiece.
Loyola was led by Ellie Rice with 11 points.
Lady Bears Coach Kellie Harper says “Everybody knows Sydney Manning can shoot the basketball. She hasn’t made a three in a few games, but she hasn’t had a lot of opportunities. In practice this week, we felt really good. She was shooting the ball great, looking for it. Teammates were looking for her. It does not surprise me the way practice went this week.”
Manning says it was nice to have a game like that. “It’s been a long time in the making. I’ve been struggling a lot recently, and it was good to hit a couple shots. It definitely builds my confidence, and sometimes, whenever you catch fire, you just do.”
Missouri State (10-7, 6-0) will return to action Sunday afternoon at JQH Arena with a 2:00 p.m. game against Valparaiso.
The Ramblers drop to 9-8 overall, 3-3 in the Valley.
The Lady Bears have now won 13 straight regular season Valley games, dating back to January 7th, 2018. It’s the sixth time the team has started 5-0 or better in league play, and the first since 2004.
MSU is now 90-9 under Harper when leading at halftime.
Twelve players scored for Missouri State in Friday’s game, with freshmen combining for 40 points.
The Lady Bears warmed up with “Wynn” t-shirts in honor of Dr. Mary Jo Wynn, who was the backbone of women’s athletics at the university. Dr. Wynn died Tuesday at the age of 87. She was the first director of the women’s athletics program at then-SMS.
Friday’s announced attendance at The Q. was 2,757