03/25 22:58 CDT No. 11 Missouri State women stun Iowa State 69-60
No. 11 Missouri State women stun Iowa State 69-60
By LUKE MEREDITH
AP Sports Writer
AMES, Iowa (AP) --- Missouri State has become a small-school outlier in an NCAA
Tournament largely dominated by chalk.
The Lady Bears are playing like they belong among the giants of the women's
Alexa Willard scored 17 points to help 11th-seeded Missouri State stun
third-seeded Iowa State 69-60 on Monday night, becoming the only double-digit
seed to reach this year's Sweet 16.
Abby Hipp had 11 points and Danielle Gitzen scored 10 for the Lady Bears
(25-9), who will compete in a regional semifinal for the first time since the
Jackie Stiles-led team in 2001. They'll face either Stanford or BYU in Chicago
after becoming the ninth team in 10 years to reach the Sweet 16 as a
Missouri State had gone one-and-done in its previous four NCAA appearances.
"Wow. That was amazing," said Missouri State coach Kellie Harper, who won three
national championships as a point guard under Pat Summitt at Tennessee. "We did
it our way. This is a dream come true."
Iowa State played much of the fourth quarter within a possession of the lead,
only to let Missouri State answer time and time again. Sydney Manning extended
the Lady Bears' lead to 60-54 on a 3, her only field goal of the game, and
Willard followed with a jumper.
Gitzen answered an empty Cyclones possession with two free throws, and Bridget
Carleton threw the ball away at the 1:07 mark with Iowa State down 65-58. The
Cyclones then inexplicably failed to foul Missouri State, allowing the Lady
Bears to burn nearly 30 seconds off the clock.
Carleton had 31 points in her final game to lead Iowa State, which shot a
ghastly 2 of 17 on 3s and 35.6 percent overall.
"They deserved to win the game," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said of
Missouri State. "I knew this moment was coming at some point. It doesn't make
it any easier."
Missouri State went on a 10-2 run to open the second half that gave the Lady
Bears a 43-32 lead midway through the third quarter.
Finally faced with the idea that their Cyclones were in trouble, Iowa State's
fans got into the act. The Cyclones followed, reeling off nine quick points to
make it a one-possession game. But a crucial 3 by Willard helped Missouri State
push its lead to 49-45 entering the final quarter.
It might have seemed as though a game-deciding run was inevitable in the fourth
quarter for the Cyclones. But it was the Lady Bears, fresh off a dominant win
over sixth-seeded DePaul, who took control when it mattered.
The jubilant Bears ran into the crowd to celebrate with their band after the
final horn, and a few of them picked up Harper's son in celebration while
screaming, "We're going to Chicago!"
THE BIG PICTURE
Iowa State: The Cyclones fell a game shy of matching the school record for wins
in a season. This was a brutal way to end the year, but it was still a
remarkable turnaround for a program that bottomed out at 14-17 a year ago.
Missouri State: The Lady Bears have beaten three straight ranked opponents ---
Drake, DePaul and Iowa State --- in road or neutral games. They'll be underdogs
the rest of the way, but Missouri State is much more dangerous than its
mid-major backstory might suggest. Iowa State was just the fifth opponent in 34
tries to outrebound the Bears, and even then it was just 38-37.
ANATOMY OF AN UPSET
Missouri State went 12 of 14 from the line and 7 of 18 on 3s. The Lady Bears
entered play at just 33.6 percent from beyond the arc. ... Missouri State
forced 13 turnovers and led for over 36 minutes. ... Iowa State got field goals
from just four players: Carleton, Ashley Joens and Alexa Middleton (9 points)
and Kristin Scott (8). Carleton, the Big 12 Player of the Year, was 10-of-16
shooting. Her teammates went 11 of 43. ... The Lady Bears got 20 points from
their bench. All the Cyclones got from their reserves was one free throw by
Ines Nezerwa. "A lot of frustration and disappointment that we didn't play the
game the way we wanted to play," Middleton said.
SHE SAID IT
"Our plan was just to go out and guard. There wasn't anything tricky," Harper
said. "We're fortunate they didn't make some shots tonight. I get that. Part of
that was way we played."
Missouri State moves on to the Chicago Regional semifinals.
Iowa State will look to move on after losing Carleton, who finished her career
seven points shy of the school record, and Middleton.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/WomensNCAATournament and