No. 11 Missouri State stuns DePaul 89-78
AMES, Iowa (AP) — Alexa Willard and Danielle Gitzen each scored 20 points and 11th-seeded Missouri State stunned DePaul 89-78 on Saturday, snapping the Blue Demon’s five-game winning streak in opening-round NCAA Tournament games.
Freshman Elle Ruffridge had a career-high 15 points for the surprisingly stout Lady Bears (24-9). They’ll face No. 3 seed Iowa State, the host school, or New Mexico State on Monday after shooting 52.5 percent in the upset over the Blue Demons.
Missouri State used its superior size in racing out to a 42-33 lead by halftime, and Gitzen’s 3 early in the third quarter pushed the Bears’ lead to 55-40.
The Blue Demons responded with a 15-7 run that kept the game from getting away from them. But Ruffridge — who set the state record for points at nearby Pocahontas Area High in Iowa — drilled a 3 just before third-quarter buzzer to put Missouri State back on top 69-56.
Even when things seemed to go wrong for the Bears they ended up right. Willard air-balled a 3 with 8:50 to go — but it turned out to be a perfect entry pass for Abby Hipp, whose ensuing layup made it 73-59.
Chante Stonewall and Ashton Millender each had 17 points for DePaul (26-8), which had won its previous 11 games. The Blue Demons trailed by as many as 21 points.
THE BIG PICTURE
Missouri State: The Bears’ last two games — a 15-point blowout over Drake, which was ranked at the time of the loss, and this win over DePaul — proved that they’re peaking at the perfect time. Missouri State also beat DePaul for the first time in six tries dating back in 2005.
DePaul: The Blue Demons picked a terrible time to play their worst game of the season. They also blew a shot at playing in the Chicago Regional — which they’ll host at Wintrust Arena.
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