Gasper and Lively combine for 37 as Aces fall to Lady Bears

 Kerri Gasper records career-high 11 rebounds

EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Despite a hot-shooting start, the University of Evansville women’s basketball team fell to Missouri State, 95-65, on Sunday afternoon inside Meeks Family Fieldhouse.

“We executed our game plan in the first quarter. I give Missouri State a lot of credit. They hit some really nice shots and made some nice reads, but I thought defensively and offensively we were really glued in to the gameplan,” said Aces head coach Matt Ruffing. “In the second quarter, our energy level and effort level dropped. Against a team like this that’s picked second in the league you can’t have that. They’re too good to do that and we found out the hard way.”

Leading the Aces were junior Kerri Gasper and sophomore Macie Lively who scored 19 and 18 points, respectively. Gasper set a career-high in the game, pulling down 11 rebounds and finishing with her first career double-double. For the Lady Bears, senior Liza Fruendt scored a game-high 24 points and collected 10 rebounds in the win.

Both teams opened the contest fast as each team had just one empty possession through their first five. After an early 9-9 tie, Missouri State went on a 7-2 run to force an Aces’ timeout with 5:21 left in the quarter. The Lady Bears saw their lead grow as large as nine in the first period, but Evansville battled back to cut it to three after Lively banked in a 40-footer at the buzzer.

The second quarter proved to be a different story as the Aces cooled off, but Missouri State continued its hot shooting performance. Evansville endured a 7:47 scoreless drought to open the quarter as the Lady Bears took a 51-29 lead into the halftime break after earning a 23-4 scoring advantage in the second frame.
Missouri State increased its lead in the third quarter, taking an 81-37 lead with just 1:19 left in the frame. It was Gasper and Lively again who responded in the waning moments of the period to trim the Lady Bears’ lead. Gasper hit a layup with 1:01 left on the clock and Lively knocked-down a triple with 27 seconds remaining in the quarter to trim the Aces’ deficit to 81-42 heading into the final frame.

In the fourth quarter, Evansville continued to chip away at the Lady Bears’ advantage as the Aces narrowed Missouri State’s lead to 90-63 with 2:45 left in the contest. Missouri State would end the game on a 5-2 run to push its advantage back to 95-65 in the Lady Bears’ win.

Coming in as the second-best team in the nation in free-throw shooting percentage, the Aces continued their impressive season at the charity stripe, hitting all 15 of their attempts.

Evansville takes to the road for a three-game road swing starting with a contest in Terre Haute against Indiana State at 6 p.m. (CT) on Friday night.