WSU ladies fall to Missouri State in NCAA second round

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SAN ANTONIO, TX – MARCH 24: Wright State Raiders vs the Missouri State Bears during the Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament held at the UTSA Convocation Center on March 24, 2021 in San Antonio, TX. (Photo by Dan Dunn/NCAA Photos)

AUSTIN, Texas – In a season that will be remembered in so many ways, the Wright State women’s basketball team’s history-making year came to a close on Wednesday afternoon as the No. 13-seeded Raiders fell to No. 5 Missouri State in the Second Round of the 2021 NCAA Championship.

The Raiders finish the season 19-8 overall, Horizon League regular season and tournament champions, and history makers after winning their first NCAA game in program history on Monday when they defeated No. 4 seed Arkansas in the opening round.

On Wednesday, the Raiders led after the first quarter and trailed by five at the half, before ultimately falling 64-39 to the Lady Bears (23-2).

Angel Baker and Shamarre Hale each finished with 10 points, while Emani Jefferson notched an eight-point, six rebound performance as seven Raiders found the scoring column and all 13 players were able to experience playing minutes in the NCAA postseason.

The Raiders blocked six shots on Wednesday – including three from Tyler Frierson. Jada Wright added two blocks of her own and Hale also swatted away a shot attempt.

Wright State tallied 18 points from inside the paint while forcing Missouri State into 12 turnovers that led to 12 Raider points.

Neither team was able to get into an offensive rhythm in the first half, with Missouri State leading 24-19 after shooting 31 percent from the floor compared to the Raiders’ 27 percent. The Lady Bears went on to shoot 41 percent in the second half on the way to a 36 percent clip overall (21-of-58), while the Raiders had an identical 27 percent shooting rate in the second half and ultimately the game (14-of-52).

After Wright State led 11-10 after 10 minutes, Missouri State outscored the Raiders 35-16 over the second and third quarters to create the separation needed in the scoring column. Elle Ruffridge finished with a game-high 20 points for Missouri State.

Wright State captured its second Horizon League title in three years this season, as head coach Katrina Merriweather was selected as the Horizon League Coach of the Year by her peers for the third time in five seasons. Wright State’s First Round win over Arkansas was the program’s first NCAA win, but the Raiders’ fourth postseason win overall, with all four victories coming in the last 11 seasons.

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