SPRINGFIELD, MO - Missouri State (17-6, 10-3 Missouri Valley Conference) won its seventh consecutive game and maintained its share of the MVC lead Friday evening with a 76-62 victory over Evansville (5-20, 2-12) at JQH Arena in Springfield.
A slow start for both teams led to a combined 3-for-22 shooting performance and a 4-4 tie seven minutes in before the Lady Bears got hot from the field. Trailing 9-6 with 12:25 on the clock, Missouri State went on a 13-3 run over the next 3:55 to grab a 19-12 lead.
Casey Garrison’s second three-pointer put the Lady Bears ahead by double digits at 24-14 with 7:43 to play, and Evansville cut the lead to five points on three occasions before breaking through with a three-point play for a 32-30 score and 1:37 left in the half.
After an MSU free throw, UE scored a layup and turned the Lady Bears over before missing to close the half with a 33-32 score in favor of Missouri State.
Four different players scored in an 8-0 MSU run to start the second half for a 41-32 lead. UE closed to five points before Christiana Shorter’s layup at the 13:09 mark put MSU ahead by 10 points again at 50-40, and Karly Buer hit consecutive short jumpers on MSU’s next two possessions for the team’s largest lead yet at 54-42 with 12 minutes to go.
Buer made it six straight points and Garrison made two shots around a Jasmine Malone layup to extend the run to 12-2 with a 62-44 lead, and the teams exchanged treys with Garrison canning her third of the night for a 65-47 score and 8:21 remaining.
The Lady Bears led by as many as 19 points twice and used all 13 available players, with 10 of those scoring and 11 grabbing at least one rebound.
Garrison finished with 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting, including 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, all while relying exclusively on her left hand for the normally right-handed shooter thanks to a thumb sprain. Buer added 15 points, 11 coming in the second half, while Roberson and Malone scored nine each.
Garrison also led MSU with eight rebounds and four assists, and the team dished out 19 assists against 14 turnovers while forcing 19 Evansville turnovers. Bry Snow added seven rebounds and Whitney Edie and Malone pulled down five boards each. Shorter had four steals for the fifth time in her last six games.
Missouri State shot 47 percent in the second half and 41.4 percent for the game while holding UE to 35.5 percent. The Lady Bears held a 47-38 rebounding margin.
Missouri State returns to action Sunday at 2:05 p.m. against Southern Illinois (7-18, 3-11). The Salukis lost 74-46 at Wichita State Friday.