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Strong second half propels Missouri State to series sweep

Photo courtesy Bradley Athletics (from Loyola-Chicago series)

A highly anticipated series for Bradley women’s basketball ended with a second defeat as the No. 25 Missouri State Bears used a strong second half to sweep the Braves out of Springfield with a 75-62 loss. 

If the key factor was physicality, the key number on Saturday was 25. That was the rebound differential between the two teams, with Missouri State hauling in 43 boards to Bradley’s 18. 

“They just shoved us under … they’re a strong team, they’re physical … they just wanted it more, they refused to lose, I don’t know if we thought it was going to be a walk in the park there to finish the game or what,” Bradley head coach Andrea Gorski said. 

With the game tied at 37 at halftime, optimism was abound for the Braves. Bradley converted on 45 percent of its first half field goals and was keyed by 10 points apiece from senior Gabi Haack and junior Lasha Petree. Both teams matched the other’s intensity on the offensive glass with four offensive rebounds each and the Bears held only a 19-12 advantage overall. 

The third quarter was not as kind to Bradley, who now stands at 12-10 overall and 8-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Braves connected on just two of 12 shots from the floor and were outscored in the frame by 10 points. 

“Just really disappointed with how we started that third quarter,” Gorski said. “We were flat, they just out-physicaled us … they had seven offensive rebounds in the first four minutes of the third quarter. They just wanted the game more than us, they weren’t going to lose it.”

Things improved for the Braves in the fourth stanza but by that point the damage had been done. Missouri State surged late and led by as much as 19 points with 2:25 remaining in the game. 

“They just kind of took us out of any set we wanted to run, didn’t let us front it,” Gorski said. “We didn’t stay strong and stand our line and it’s just not going to look pretty when you do that. You’ve gotta be solid, you’ve gotta play low and strong and we just didn’t want to do that there in the second half for whatever reason.”

Brice Calip’s 24-point performance led the Bears, who remain undefeated in MVC play at 11-0. 

Bradley will play Illinois State at home on Thursday night at 7 p.m. 

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