Missouri State hit a season-high 11 three-pointers, including four apiece from Danielle Gitzen and Elle Ruffridge, as both players posted career highs in scoring in an 89-64 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament semifinal victory over UNI Saturday afternoon. Gitzen scored 22 points with four assists, while Ruffridge chipped in 14, and the Lady Bears (22-9) lit up the scoreboard despite scoring only 10 points in the first quarter. MSU’s 21st win in the last 23 games propelled the Lady Bears to their 16th MVC Tournament title game, where they own 10 victories. Missouri State takes on No. 21 Drake in that game at 2 p.m. Sunday.
The Lady Bears shot 50 percent overall and 11-for-18 from three-point range, and owned a 49-25 rebounding edge. Jasmine Franklin hauled in a career-high 14 boards, moving her to third all-time among MSU freshmen with 239 rebounds on the year. Eleven Lady Bears scored and 11 had at least one rebound. The Panthers shot 37.9 percent and got 21 points from Karli Rucker.
The Lady Bears (22-9, 16-2 MVC) finished second in the league standings and are 21-2 since a Dec. 16 loss to Gonzaga. This is the sixth MSU team to go 16-2 or better in the MVC, and first since 2004. Missouri State has 19 wins over top-25 opponents in its history, but none since No. 5 Duke in the 2001 Sweet 16.
The Bears face number one seeded Drake at 2 p.m. on Sunday