The Missouri State Lady Bears (23-8) overcame a nine-point second-half deficit to defeat visiting UMKC (22-12) 81-79 Thursday in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament at JQH Arena in Springfield. MSU moves on to play Memphis (25-7) on Saturday at 7 p.m. at JQH.
UMKC’s 11-2 run early in the second half put the Kangaroos ahead 51-42 with 14:51 to play, but MSU battled back to tie the game 64-64 with 5:46 to go and at 74-74 with 2:40 to play.
Christiana Shorter’s layup put MSU ahead for good 76-74 with 1:32 to play, and the Kangaroos missed four free throws and a field goal their next three times down the floor, while Karly Buer hit two free throws and Jasmine Malone added another make it 79-74 with 24.5 seconds to go. UMKC hit a three with 11.5 left to make it a one possession game, but Whitney Edie sealed it with two free throws with 7.7 seconds to go for the 81-77 advantage. The Kangaroos hit a bucket as time expired for the final margin.