Just one undefeated team remains in MVC women's basketball - Creighton - sitting at a perfect 3-0 after a road win over Southern Illinois on Saturday. Illinois State, the other remaining undefeated team heading into today's action, was knocked off in convincing fashion at Indiana State, 74-55. Missouri State and UNI both improved to 3-1 in league action with wins over Bradley and Wichita State, respectively.
INDIANA STATE, ILLINOIS STATE 55
INS (8-6, 2-1 MVC); ILS (10-4, 2-1 MVC)
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Indiana State women's basketball team raced out of the gates and never looked back on Saturday afternoon inside Hulman Center, as the Sycamores jumped out to a 19-2 lead over the visiting Illinois State Redbirds after six and a half minutes of play en route to a 74-55 Missouri Valley Conference victory in front of 3,121 fans.
The Sycamores (8-6, 2-1 MVC) and the Redbirds (10-4, 2-1 MVC) traded baskets in the first minute of action before Indiana State began to build their lead, using seven points from junior Shannon Thomas, four from senior Kelsie Cooley and 3-pointers from juniors Deja Mattox and Brittany Schoen to take a 19-2 lead at the 13:24 mark of the first half. ISU's 17-0 run was capped by an old-fashioned three-point play from Thomas.
Illinois State did not go away after the Indiana State run, as a 3-pointer from Katie Broadway with nine minutes remaining in the half cut the Indiana State lead to just seven points, at 21-14. The Sycamores were not rattled, however, as ISU scored the game's next 10 points on 3-pointers from Cooley and freshman Anna Munn and a pair of free-throws from Schoen and sophomore Taylor Whitley to stretch the lead back to 17 points, at 31-14 with 7:26 left in the half.
Indiana State took a 43-24 lead into the locker room at the half, led by 17 points, six rebounds and four blocks from Thomas. Mattox and Cooley both added seven in the first half. As a team, the Sycamores went a perfect 13-for-13 from the charity stripe and knocked down 44.8% of their shots from the field (13-for-29) in the game's opening 20 minutes.
The Sycamores did not have a second-half letdown, as the ISU lead never got below 13 points from the remainder of the game.
ISU saw their lead reach its largest margin with 14 minutes remaining in the contest, when a jumper by Cooley pushed the ISU lead to 22 points with the score at 54-32.
Indiana State had lost four straight and six of its last seven games with Illinois State before Saturday's victory, including all three times the teams met last season.
For the game, Thomas totaled 21 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in 33 minutes on the court, her third double-double this season and 10th for her Sycamore career. Mattox went into double-figures for the sixth consecutive game, adding 17 points, eight rebounds and a team-high three steals. Cooley also went in double-digits, tossing in 11 points.
Only three other Sycamores scored against the Redbirds, with Whitley going for nine points and four assists, while Schoen and Munn both hit a pair of 3-pointers and two free-throws for eight points each.
The Sycamores won the rebounding battle, grabbing 41 boards to Illinois State's 35. The Redbirds were able to pull down 19 offensive rebounds, but only converted them into eight points for the game.
The Sycamores entered the game with the most free-throws made as a team in the conference and did nothing to change that statistic, as ISU went 22-for-23 from the line (95.7%).
MISSOURI STATE 73, BRADLEY 58
MSU (12-4, 3-1 MVC); BU (8-7, 1-3 MVC)
PEORIA, Ill. - The Missouri State Lady Bears overcame a sluggish start to bury Bradley, 73-58, Saturday evening at Renaissance to improve to 3-1 in Missouri Valley Conference play and 12-4 overall. The Lady Bears turned in a dominant defensive effort and outscored the Braves 17-5 over a critical second-half stretch to earn their fifth road victory of the season.
The Lady Bears limited Bradley to .295 (18-of-61) shooting, marking the seventh time this season they have held an opponent under 30 percent from the floor.
Christiana Shorter paced a Missouri State attack that featured four double-digit scorers with a game-high 19 points. Casey Garrison came through with 13 points, including eight straight during the Lady Bears' key run, as well as game highs of eight rebounds and five assists. Kendra Roberts also posted a big night, finishing with career highs of 10 points and six rebounds.
Despite a slow start on the offensive end and 12 turnovers, the Lady Bears took a 31-22 lead into halftime. The Lady Bear defense limited the Braves to just 9-of-36 (.250) shooting, and Jaleshia Roberson totaled all 12 of her points in the half to lead the MSU charge.
The Lady Bears got the job done over the first 20 minutes by hitting on 6-of-14 (.429) tries from behind the three-point arc, led by Roberson's 4-of-8 effort. Roberts also turned in a strong opening period, connecting on 4-of-6 field goal attempts.
Both offenses struggled at the onset of the contest, however, combining to go just 4-of-29 over the first eight-and-a-half minutes. Missouri State finally gained an advantage midway through the opening half when Roberts scored on back-to-back possessions to make it a 10-5 game.
After BU tallied five of the next seven points, Roberson knocked down the second of her four first-half three-point field goals at the 10:06 mark to push the Lady Bear advantage back to five. MSU would heat things up from the perimeter late in the half, as Roberts and Roberson would combine to can three straight shots from beyond the arc over a two-and-a-half minute span to stretch the lead to 11 points with just over four minutes to play.
Behind a pair of Leah Kassing field goals, Bradley would post five unanswered points to slice the deficit to 28-22 over the ensuing three minutes. But Roberson would come up big again to answer the Braves' challenge, hitting one more time from long distance with just 48 seconds left on the clock to send MSU into the break with a nine-point cushion.
The first five minutes of the second stanza saw both teams start slowly once again, but MSU got three early points from Tia Mays, and Jasmine Malone's first two buckets of the night helped the Lady Bears claim their biggest lead of the night at 39-24 with just under 14 minutes left on the clock.
Bradley was able to pull to within 11 behind a Hannah Muegge trey and a Lauren Niemiera jumper, but the Lady Bear perimeter game would take over once again to seal the outcome of the contest. Following a pair of MacKenzie Westcott free throws that closed the BU gap to 43-32, Malone cranked it up from long range for her first triple of the game to initiate the Lady Bears' key run. Garrison would follow with threes of her own on back-to-back possessions to start a personal 8-0 run for the MSU junior.
Aly Stock would convert a second-chance basket with 7:16 to play, and Shorter converted two straight tries from the field, as well as two free throws, to extend MSU's lead to 62-39 -- its biggest of the evening.
Bradley (8-7, 1-3 MVC) would get no closer than the final 15-point margin, as the Lady Bears put the game out of reach by shooting .467 (14-of-30) from the field in the second half.
CREIGHTON 68, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 51
CU (9-5, 3-0 MVC); SIU (2-13, 0-4 MVC)
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Creighton overcame a sluggish first half to shoot better than 50 percent from the field in the second half and leave SIU Arena with a 68-51 win over Southern Illinois Saturday afternoon. Kelsey Woodard led all players with 18 points, as the Bluejay senior moved into 12th place all-time on the Creighton scoring charts.
The Bluejays are now the only remaining unbeaten Missouri Valley Conference team, at 3-0 in league play. The Jays are 9-5 overall after winning their second MVC road game in as many tries. SIU dropped to 2-13 overall and 0-4 in conference play.
SIU scored the first five points of the game and led 7-2 before the Bluejays scored the next eight points of the game to take a 10-7 lead, with the last six points coming on three-pointers from Woodard. The Salukis regained an 11-10 lead, but the Bluejays scored five unanswered points to claim the lead and SIU would never lead again, but the Bluejays owned just a 28-25 halftime lead after committing 10 first-half turnovers compared to 11 by the home team.
The Jays missed their first seven shots of the game before making 11-of-24 shots to finish at 35.5 percent in the opening half, while hitting only 3-of-12 (.250) three-pointers in the opening half.
Creighton opened the second half on an 11-3 run to put the score at 39-28 on a Carli Tritz jumper just 4:30 into the half. SIU would get back within double digits for the next five minutes, until another Tritz bucket with 10:39 to play gave the Jays a 49-39 lead. Creighton would own a double digit lead for the remainder of the game, with the 17-point margin of victory serving as the largest lead of the game for the Jays.
The Bluejays made 16-of-31 shots (.516) in the second half to finish shooting 43.5 percent from the floor, including 23-of-44 (.523) inside the three-point arc for the game. Creighton out-rebounded the Salukis 43-30, including 17 offensive boards. After the Jays committed 10 first-half turnovers, they turned the ball over just three times in the second half, while forcing 20 overall turnovers by SIU. Creighton had 29 points off of SIU's turnovers.
Woodard's 18 points puts her career total at 1,270, moving her from 15th into 12th place on the Creighton career scoring list. She made 4-of-7 three-pointers and 6-of-11 shots from the floor. Tritz added 12 points, five rebounds and two steals, while Kellie Nelson chipped in 10 points. Sam Schuett led the Jays with eight rebounds and four steals to go along with her eight points.
SIU was led by Katrina Swingler's 12 points and six rebounds, while Charnise Mitchell added 10 points off the bench for the Salukis. SIU shot 36.7 percent from the floor, including 28 percent from beyond the arc and just 61.5 percent at the free throw line.
The Bluejays are 3-0 in MVC play for the second straight season and the fifth time in Jim Flanery's nine seasons at Creighton. It is CU's eighth 3-0 start all-time in Valley action.
UNI 59, WICHITA STATE 49
UNI (10-5, 3-1 MVC); WSU (7-8, 1-3 MVC)
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - The University of Northern Iowa women's basketball team used a 22-3 run in the first half to build a double-digit lead that it never relinquished in a 59-49 win over Wichita State Saturday afternoon in the McLeod Center.
Jacqui Kalin led UNI (10-5, 3-1 MVC) with 12 points, and Katelin Oney, Rachel Madrigal and Amber Kirschbaum each scored nine. Erin Brocka finished with nine rebounds and five steals.
WSU led 7-2 early on, but the Panthers scored the game's next eight points to go in front, 10-7. After a three from Morgan Boyd tied the game at 10, the Panthers held the Shockers scoreless over the next seven minutes to go on a 14-0 run and build a 24-10 lead.
A Shocker basket cut their deficit to a dozen, but UNI tallied the game's next eight points to stretch its lead to 32-12 with 2:42 left in the first half.
Wichita State scored eight straight points to cut the UNI advantage to 12, but Mercedees Morgan scored off an assist from Lizzie Boeck to send UNI into the break leading 34-20.
The Shockers cut the UNI lead to 12 twice early in the second half, including 39-27 with 18:14 to play. The Panthers went on a 10-1 run to stretch their lead back 21 points, 49-28.
The Panthers went on to lead by as many as 24 points, and UNI led 59-39 with 4:17 remaining. The Shockers scored the final 10 points of the contest to bring the final score to 59-49.