Wichita State Defeats Missouri State Lady Bears 71-53 In Valley Tournament
Missouri State's Tyonna Snow (22) is trapped by two Wichita State defenders during second half play in Friday night's quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Charles. Image by KTTS News
The Wichita State Shockers have ended the Missouri State Lady Bears season, winning 71-53 Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Women's Basketball Tournament at Family Arena in St. Charles.
Missouri State kept things tight early, trailing the Shockers 32-27 at the intermission, but Wichita State went on an 8-1 run to start the second half to go ahead 40-28 at the 17:32 mark.
MSU pulled within nine on a couple of occasions, the last when senior Desiree Phillips hit a shot with 10:13 left in regulation to make it a 50-41 game, but the Shockers started to pull away, leading by as many as 22 with just over a minute remaining.
Phillips led three Lady Bears seniors in double figures with 13 points, followed by Hannah Wilkerson with 11 and Bry Snow with ten.
Phillips had all three of Missouri State's three pointers.
The Shockers shot 46% from the field for the game (25-55), while the Lady Bears went 18-49 (37%).
MSU outrebounded the Shockers 42-32, but the Lady Bears committed 27 turnovers, tying their season high (at Wichita State on March 9th).
Alex Harden scored 20 points and Jamillah Bonner added 19 for Wichita State, who improves to 24-6.
"I'm really proud of our players for coming out and competing," Lady Bears Coach Kellie Harper said. "And for a long period of time really executing the game plan."
Harper says the Shockers pressure defense is tough to handle. "They pick you up and guard you one on one. They bring traps from different areas and it's constant, pretty relentless. We knew it would be a challenge."
"Wichita State is a tough basketball team," an emotional Bry Snow explained as she tried to fight back tears. "We knew we were going to have to come out and compete. We gave it what we had. The team fought. Everybody fought. We're proud of our team. We competed. We showed that we can compete."
Wilkerson says the seniors have been playing every game like it could be their last. "I'm proud of what our team has done. Maybe we didn't have the best season, but we've had a lot of great times."
Phillips, whose 13 points marked a career high, says the team didn't hold back. "We went all out. We played our hearts out. We didn't give up. We came up short, but they're not going to give up next year."
The Lady Bears season ends at 14-17, an identical record to a year ago.
We'll have complete coverage, including Lady Bears player and coach reaction, later tonight on KTTS.com.
Wichita State won all three of its games against the Lady Bears this season, with the first two by margins of 30 points (98-68 in Springfield on January 5th) and 37 points (93-56 in Wichita on March 9th).
The Shockers have won 17 of the last 21 games against MSU since 2006. The Lady Bears lead the all time series 45-32.
The Lady Bears were 11-10 when they lost sophomore guard Kenzie Williams to a season-ending knee injury, and went 2-6 since that time.
MSU leads the Valley in offensive rebounds per game with a 15.3 average.
Wichita State is trying to become only the fifth team to win back to back Valley Tournament championships. The Shockers will play Illinois State in Saturday's semifinals, while top seeded Indiana State will meet Drake in the other semifinal.
Friday's MVC Tournament Quarterfinal Scores:
#1 Indiana State 61, #8 Loyola 52
#5 Drake 71, #4 Evansville 61
#2 Wichita State 71, #7 Missouri State 53
#6 Illinois State 65, #3 Northern Iowa 63