The Missouri State Lady Bears remain undefeated in conference play with a two game sweep of the Valparaiso Crusaders on the road this weekend.
In game one of the series, MSU’s offensive slump continued as the Lady Bears finished with a 39% field goal rate. Their defense was able to hold the Crusaders to just 28.1% from the floor.
“It's been a difficult week for our team with a lot of games,” head coach Amaka “Mox” Agugua-Hamilton said in a post-game radio interview. “They're very tired, and I’m glad they found a way to find a win on the road.”
Despite a late second half run by Valparaiso, the Lady Bears were able to hold on, the final score 61-51.
Missouri State was once again led by junior Jasmine Franklin who had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds and senior Brice Calip who finished the game with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Also notable was Sydney Wilson, who helped produce offense with a career high six assists.
Defense and rebounding were solid for the Lady Bears, forcing a total of 16 turnovers in game one and out-rebounding their opponent by nine boards. Franklin and Calip were the highlight again, combining for three blocks and five steals.
Game two of the series left off where game one finished with a defensive first half. Scoring increased greatly after the break, where the Lady Bears erased an eight point Crusader fourth quarter lead to win 74-73.
“It shouldn’t be overlooked how big it was for us to come out 5-0 during this 10-day stretch,” Mox said.
Senior Brice Calip was the hero when she was fouled on a three point shot with under a second to go and the Lady Bears down 73-71. Calip made all three free throws, giving MSU the last second lead. Calip finished with 23 points, seven assists and five steals.
“Brice was just phenomenal, and she put the team on her back,” said Mox. “She’s played a lot of minutes in the last several games and showed a lot of mental toughness today.”
Junior Jasmine Franklin contributed another double-double in game two with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Meanwhile, senior Elle Ruffridge finished with 17 points off 7-14 shooting from the floor.
Being able to make free throws down the stretch was huge for the Lady Bears, finishing 14-17 (82.4%) from the stripe, including nine made free throws in the last six minutes of the contest.
With the win, the Lady Bears have won 19 of their last 20 conference games dating back to last season. MSU is currently 11-2 overall in this year's campaign. Their next game is against Indiana State on Friday, Feb. 5 at JQH Arena. The game will be live on KOZL and called on KWTO 101.3 FM.
Follow Noah Tucker on Twitter, noahtucker04
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