Alexa Willard scored 17 points to lead the No. 11-seeded Missouri State Lady Bears to a 69-60 upset win over the No. 3-seeded Iowa State Cyclones on Monday in the second round of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Monday in Ames, Iowa.
The Lady Bears next will face second-seeded Stanford, which beat seventh-seeded BYU late Monday night, in a Sweet 16 matchup in Chicago.
Missouri State went on a 10-0 run early in the third quarter to open up a 43-32 lead. Iowa State’s offense came alive and the Cyclones cut the deficit to four at 49-45 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Cyclones had three opportunities in the fourth period to tie the game or take the lead but couldn’t get over the hump.
The key play came with Missouri State leading 57-54. Freshman Sydney Manning knocked down a 3 from the top of the key giving the Lady Bears a 60-54 advantage.
The Lady Bears responded each time and when Danielle Gitzen sank a pair of free throws with 1:22 left, Missouri State led 65-58.
The Lady Bears stretched the lead to nine with two free throws from Brice Calip with 28 seconds remaining and Missouri State started celebrating.
The win was the seventh straight for Missouri State, the highest remaining seed in the tournament. The Lady Bears have not been to the Sweet 16 since 2001.
Besides Willard, Abby Hipp and Gitzen finished in double figures for Missouri State. Hipp finished with 11 points and Gitzen compiled 10 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Bridget Carleton scored a game-high 31 points and 10 rebounds for the Cyclones, who finished the season with 26 wins. Alexa Middleton added nine points, five rebounds and five assists.
Iowa State came into the game averaging 8.9 3-pointers per game, but against the stifling Lady Bears defense, the Cyclones connected on only 2 of 17 attempts.
—Field Level Media