No. 18 Missouri State pulls away from Shockers late to deny upset bid
For three quarters Wichita State went toe-to-toe with No. 18 Missouri State before the Lady Bears pulled away behind a big fourth quarter to defeat the Shockers, 68-55, Wednesday night in JQH Arena.
Wichita State (4-3) saw its four-game winning streak come to an end, while also failing to hit a three-pointer in the game – one game after hitting 12 vs. Oklahoma. The Shockers’ 0-for-10 mark from long range was the first time without a triple since Jan. 10, 2018 when WSU was 0-for-11 vs. Memphis.
Maya Brewer netted a career-high 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting, marking her second game with 10 or more points this season and first since the season opener. Mariah McCully also posted a new career best, adding 13 points – 10 coming after halftime.
The Shockers struggled from the field all night, finishing at just 35 percent, while also being outrebounded by five. Missouri State (8-1) cashed in on 43.4 percent of its attempts and 17-of-22 tries from the free throw line.
Alexa Willard led three Lady Bears in double figures with 14 points – 12 in the second half. Brice Calip and Jasmine Franklin added 12 and 11, respectively, while Franklin also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Just over the midway point of the opening quarter Missouri State held a 9-6 lead, as the two teams combined to turn the ball over nine times. A WSU 6-0 run capped by a Maya Brewer steal and score gave the Shockers a 12-9 lead with 1:32 left, but the Lady Bears scored five straight to regain the lead.
Asia Henderson’s layup as the buzzer sounded, tied the game at 14 after 10 minutes of play. Wichita State shot 54 percent from the field, but committed eight turnovers, while Missouri State shot 40 percent to go with seven miscues.
Brewer would then score the first four points of the second quarter forcing a quick MSU timeout just 1:40 into the period.
After Wichita State took its largest lead, 25-20, the Shockers went the final 5:16 without a score, allowing MSU to close the half on a 9-0 run and a 29-25 lead into the locker room. WSU finished the half shooting 38 percent after missing its last nine attempts. The Shockers also missed all six of their three-pointers.
Brewer led all scorers with eight points and Prince added six. Henderson set a new career best with seven first half rebounds.
Missouri State’s Alexa Willard entered the game averaging a shade under 20 points per game, but was held to just two first half points.
The Lady Bears briefly opened a seven-point lead with 6:04 left in the third, but McCully scored six quick points to pull the Shockers back within one, 38-37. MSU extended its lead back to five at the end of the third, 45-40.
Both teams struggled from the field in the third with WSU failing to top the 30 percent mark and MSU right at 30 percent. The Lady Bears made up for it at the free throw line, going 7-for-8 in the frame.
To begin the final quarter MSU used a 7-0 run to take its largest lead to that point, 52-40. Another 8-0 burst for the Lady Bears broke the game open, 60-42, with 4:48 remaining.
The Shockers made one last charge, putting together nine straight to pull within single digits, 60-51, and 2:15 on the clock. That would be as close as it would get, as the Lady Bears stretched it back to double digits in the final minute.
Wichita State hosts Eastern Michigan for a Saturday afternoon matchup in Charles Koch Arena on Dec.7 at 2 p.m.