Bears break Shockers’ five-game streak
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Wichita State’s leading scorer and rebounder, Rangie Bessard, fouled out of Sunday’s game against Missouri State with the score tied at 57 with 2:54 left.
MSU took full advantage, drilling a 3-pointer on the next possession.
One minute later, WSU backup center Angiee Tompkins fouled out with under 30 seconds left. The Bears drove to the basket more aggressively with the Shockers’ two forwards sidelined by fouls, getting to the free throw line each of their last three possessions.
The Bears would hit five out of their six attempts from the free-throw line during that stretch, snapping the Shockers’ five-game winning streak with their 65-60 victory on Sunday at Koch Arena.
“We wouldn’t anticipate losing both post players before the game was over,” said head coach Linda Hargrove, who made her first appearance in Koch Arena since her hiring on Jan. 22. “I thought Angiee did a nice job rebounding at times and Rangie was very focused on the offensive and defensive end.
“When you take those two players off the court, it really affects some of the things that we can do and it also, in a positive way, affected some of the things that Missouri State could do.”
After missing their first nine shots, the Shockers made seven of their next 11 attempts to go on a 10-0 scoring run that gave WSU a 19-13 lead with 7:32 left in the second quarter. WSU swarmed MSU into 28 percent shooting for the quarter.
The Bears ended the second quarter by scoring five consecutive points, cutting the Shockers’ lead 30-27 at halftime.
MSU tied the game at 36 halfway through the third quarter until the Shockers scored seven unanswered points. A 3-pointer from MSU’s Alexa Willard cut the lead 48-44 with 2:08 left to play in the third quarter.
Two quick baskets gave the Bears a one-point lead with only a minute into the fourth quarter. Lee Ann Polowy swished a 3-point basket to extend MSU’s lead 52-48.
“We left wide open shooters, so of course, they’re going to knock those down,” Bessard said. “We have to do a better job of communicating in transition defense, for sure. A lot of (the shots) came out of transition defense.”
Junior Tamara Lee drove to the paint for an inside layup, and junior Keke Thompson followed to tie the game at 54 with six minutes left to play.
“My team believed in me. They make sure that I have confidence in myself,” Thompson said. “At the end, they depended on me and I just put them on my back.”
Thompson led the Shockers with 16 points coming off the bench and added three assists and three rebounds. Bessard scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds while junior Diamond Lockhart added eight points, six rebounds and three assists.
“I’m still learning the personnel. I think I know who should be in the game at certain situations, but I’m not always right,” Hargrove said. “I told the team just a while ago I don’t think I did a very good at the very end of this game either. I’m going to get better at learning what our personnel can do at certain situations.”
WSU (10-11, 5-5) plays two games at home next weekend. The Shockers host Evansville at 7 p.m. Friday on Koch Arena. They wrap up the weekend series with Southern Illinois at 2 p.m. Sunday.