As the season heads into late January, Missouri Valley Conference preseason favorite Missouri State scored a home sweep of Drake last Friday and Saturday and moved into a commanding lead in the conference standings.
With the sweep of Drake, Missouri State completed its season series against Drake and UNI with a 4-0 record for the second consecutive season and has now swept the Iowa schools eight times in school history, with the previous seven occurrences leading to regular season conference titles. The last time the Lady Bears swept UNI and Drake in back-to-back years was 1993 and 1994.
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On Friday in a 73-72 thriller, Missouri State improved to 3-0 in MVC play for the third consecutive season, using 14 steals and a plus-13 turnover margin to hang on and beat Drake. The Lady Bears got 16 points and a season-high four 3-pointers from Elle Ruffridge to lead four scorers in double figures.
Less than 24 hours later, Missouri State again defeated Drake, this time by a 78-63 count as Jasmine Franklin scored a season-high 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting, adding a season-high four steals and 10 rebounds for her 17th career double-double. Ruffridge hit three treys and tallied 15 points, Abby Hipp and Sydney Wilson scored 11 apiece, and Brice Calip netted 10 while matching season highs with six assists and four steals.
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Missouri State, 8-2 overall and 4-0 in MVC play, received votes once again in this week’s Associated Press top-25 poll. The Lady Bears sit 27th with 49 points.
Missouri State will next wrap-up a three-game home stand on Jan. 27 with a game against Southern Illinois.