Work in Sports
Drake captures Missouri Valley
Posted: Sunday March 12, 2000 01:05 AM
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- Center Carla Bennett scored 27 points and grabbed 19 rebounds to lead Drake over Southwest Missouri State 70-67 Saturday in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament final.
The win gives Drake (23-6) the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
Southwest Missouri's Jackie Stiles, who scored a tournament-record 56 points in a semifinal win over Evansville, had 30 points Saturday, but missed two 3-point shots in the final 10 seconds.
Stiles also missed a layup that would have given Southwest Missouri (23-8) the lead with 35 seconds left.
Southwest Missouri led 43-41 after a first half that saw six lead changes.
Drake, the regular-season conference champion, opened the second half with a 17-6 run that saw Bennett score seven points. She had 15 in the second half.
Drake held its biggest lead at 64-55, before Southwest Missouri went on a 9-2 run to trail 66-64 with 3:18 left.
The Lady Bears' only 3-pointer of the game, by Sarah Singer with in the final minute, pulled Drake to within 68-67 before Stiles missed the layup and 3-point tries.
Kristin Santa had 17 points for Drake.
Tara Mitchem added 12 points for Southwest Missouri.