Lady Bears handle Redbirds, sit alone atop Valley


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Coming off an absolutely dominant win over Bradley, Missouri State carried momentum into a Sunday victory over Illinois State to close out the first half of the conference season.

Despite a close battle, MSU would lead for 37 of the games’ 40 minutes to claim an 87-74 victory.

The Lady Bears got double-digit scoring from five separate players, led by 16-points from Alexa Willard.

Brice Calip was close behind with 15-points along with eight assists, four rebounds and no turnovers.

Mya Bhinhar also notched 14 points while Sydney Wilson added 13.

The final result looked uncertain in the 3rd quarter as the Redbirds worked from double digits down to come within one point.

A 25-18 fourth quarter margin in favor of Missouri State, however, helped seal the victory for the Lady Bears.

“Honestly, it felt just like a really fun game,” Bhinhar said. “At times, even when they came back, it just felt like we had the game under control. Those games are really fun to play in because you never feel tension or, like oh no they’re coming back.”

“I just liked how we shared the ball,” Missouri State Head Coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton said. “We had 22 assists. We had people that had like career nights. Abby (Hipp) had a double-double. Brice (Calip) had 15 points, eight assists and no turnovers and about four or five rebounds. We had five people in double figures. It was really a team win. I’m just really proud of how we came out and how we just prevailed through all the ups and downs of the game.”

Sunday came with an added bonus for the Lady Bears as Bradley fell to Southern Illinois, placing Missouri State alone at the top of the Missouri Valley Conference with an 18-3 overall record, 8-1 in the conference.

That wraps up the first half of MVC play for the Lady Bears with just the one loss to SIU.

MSU will start up the second half on Friday, February 7th as they travel to Northern Iowa for a 6:30 pm tip-off.

The Lady Bears will then travel to Drake for a big rematch with the Bulldogs and a 2:00 pm tip-off.

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