Stiles nets 21 straight points as Lady Bears roll Drake
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- Jackie Stiles scored 21 of her 47 points consecutively, leading No. 16 Southwest Missouri State to an 84-69 victory Saturday over Drake in the Missouri Valley Conference championship game.
The win carries an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament for Southwest Missouri (25-5), the tournament's No. 2 seed. Drake (23-6) was the No. 1 seed, and must now wait until Sunday to see if it gains an at-large bid.
Stiles, who leads the nation in scoring and is the NCAA women's career leader, got 21 points in just over three minutes after the game was tied at 38 in the second half. She hit 8-of-11 shots from the floor, which included two of four 3-pointers, and made three free throws during the run.
When Stiles finished her shooting spree, the Bears were up 59-50 and never gave up the lead.
It was the first time Southwest Missouri has won the tournament since 1996. Southwest Missouri and Drake, a four-time winner of the event in Springfield, exchanged baskets most of the first half. There were eight ties and five lead changes.
Southwest Missouri went on a 9-0 run to take an 18-9 lead with 12:01 left in the first half.
Then Carla Bennett scored 13 points during a 17-6 run that gave Drake a 34-28 lead. Drake led 38-36 at halftime.
Tara Mitchem hit two free throws at the start of the second half to tie the game at 38 and set the stage for Stiles, who finished 16-of-27 from the field, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range.
The Bears were 16-for-16 from the free throw line, with Stiles going 10-for-10.
Mitchem finished with 11 points for Southwest Missouri, and Erika Rante added 10. Carly Deer had 10 rebounds.
Bennett finished with 33 points and Ja'Nae Mosley added 18 for Drake.