Down 20 points in the first half, the Missouri State Lady Bears beat the Oklahoma Sooners to advance to the Women’s Preseason NIT Championship 96-90.
The Lady Bears used a huge 3rd Quarter rally to get back into the game, outscoring the Sooners 34-18 in the period
Alexa Willard had a team high 27 points while the Lady Bears out-rebounded the Sooners 39-26.
Coach Mox and the undefeated Lady Bears will head to Oregon to take on #7 Oregon State on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
Missouri State rallied from a 20-point first-half deficit Thursday evening to earn a 96-90 victory over Oklahoma and advance to the Preseason WNIT Championship game against either No.7 Oregon State or 18th-ranked DePaul at 3:30 p.m. Central time Sunday, Nov. 17, on CBS Sports Network, site to be determined.
After the Sooners (2-1) hit the Lady Bears (4-0) with an early scoring barrage that included 11 consecutive makes to end the first quarter and eight 3-pointers to a 46-26 lead with 5:39 left until the half, Missouri State began to whittle away and got the halftime deficit to 51-39 before charging out of intermission.
After the Sooners pushed the margin back to 15 points early in the third quarter, Alexa Willard, Brice Calip, Jasmine Franklin, Mya Bhinhar and Abby Hipp all scored in a 14-0 run to make it 60-59 with 5:10 on the clock.
Willard hit a corner trey to tie the score at 62 with 4:03 remaining on the way to 16 third-quarter points and 29 in the game, and Bhinhar’s baseline jumper gave the Lady Bears a 66-64 lead with 3:18 left as the sophomore tallied a career-high 19 points.
The Lady Bears led 73-67 late in the third on a Willard jumper, and she buried another triple with 7:12 remaining for an 82-73 advantage.
The margin remained between six and nine points until the Sooners rattled off a 6-0 run to close to 89-86 at the 1:39 mark, and the MSU defense responded on the next two possessions while Bhinhar went 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 27.1 seconds to seal the game.
The comeback was Missouri State’s first of at least 15 points since February 2016, while records were not readily available to determine if a 20-point comeback has occurred in MSU history.
Franklin collected her second double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Calip tallied 16 points with five assists and no turnovers.
The Lady Bears shot 37-for-69 (.536) from the floor and 8-for-15 from beyond the arc to take sole possession of the nation’s longest road winning streak at 13 games. Missouri State owned a 39-26 rebounding edge.