The Missouri State Lady Bears completed a perfected campaign in the Missouri Valley Conference this past weekend following back-to-back victories over the Evansville Purple Aces.
The sweep concluded the Lady Bears’ regular season where they finished 20-2 overall, including a flawless 16-0 record in MVC play, the first time in school history that feat has been achieved.
MSU was without head coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton for the series due to a minor back injury. Assistant coach C.J. Jones led the helm in her absence.
In game one of the series, the Lady Bears were dominant on the boards, finishing with a plus-28 rebound advantage, the final score 87-54.
Junior Sydney Wilson was a large part of the Lady Bears offense, with 16 points on a career-high four made three-pointers.
Other leading scorers in game one included junior Jasmine Franklin with 16 points, adding nine rebounds, and senior Elle Ruffridge who totaled 14 points off 4-8 shooting behind the arc.
“We did a really good job finding good shots all weekend,” Jones said in a postgame radio interview.
Jones said he believed ball movement and defense creating offense was a large part of the Lady Bears’ success in both games.
In game two, MSU stole the lead from the tipoff, outscoring Evansville 19-6 in the first quarter. From there, the Lady Bears didn’t look back en route to a 85-44 victory behind one of their most complete performances of the season.
Offense was in abundance in game two as the Lady Bears shot 44.1% from the floor and 28.6% from the three-point line.
MSU had five players in double digits, including Franklin with 11, Wilson with 10, as well as seniors Abby Hipp with 11, Brice Calip with 14 and Abi Jackson with 12.
Freshman Paige Rocca also had a notable weekend, scoring six points in game one and nine points in game two, all of her buckets coming from behind the three-point line.
“Now it's time to get back and work on us for a couple days,” said Jones. “We need to find the alert focus and get ready to make a big tournament run.”
MSU’s next action will be on the road this coming weekend for the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Securing the one seed, the Lady Bears receive a first round bye and will play the winner of Southern Illinois and Indiana State on Friday, March 12 at 11 a.m. in Moline, Illinois.
Follow Noah Tucker on Twitter, noahtucker04
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