The Missouri State Lady Bears basketball team played complimentary ball for three quarters, but weren’t able to sustain their level of play and fell to Illinois State, 67-63 at home, snapping their five-game winning streak.
A mini-homecoming of sorts took place before the game, as former Drury standout basketball player, Paige Robinson, took the court during warmups for the Redbirds. Robinson entered the game as Illinois State’s leading scorer. She averages 20 points a game.
Missouri State was undaunted, though. They came out knocking down 8-18 shots, including a buzzer-beating three pointer by Aniya Thomas to give her team an 18-13 advantage heading into the second.
In period number two, Beth Cunningham’s team kept the hammer down. Thomas hit her second triple of the game with 7:55 to play in the quarter to give the Lady Bears a 25-16 lead. The nine-point cushion was the largest of the game by either team.
Momentum wore maroon and white heading into intermission after Paige Rocca hit a three-pointer as the clock expired on the period to give MSU a 35-27 lead at the half.
Over the third quarter, the Redbirds were able to chip away at their deficit. They were able to outscore the Lady Bears 18-13 to only trail 48-45. The 13 third quarter points by MSU were the fewest points scored the team in any quarter.
In the fourth, Robinson was able to get going like the Lady Bears hoped she wouldn’t. She scored nine of her game-high 22 points in the quarter to help push the Redbirds ahead by one, 56-55 with 4:21 seconds remaining.
The Lady Bears were 1-8 in the final 5 minutes after leading 55-51, including a pair of turnovers and making just 2-4 free throws.
Missouri State is now 2-1 in Missouri Valley Conference play this season and hosts Bradley on Saturday, January 7 at 1 p.m.