Braves Top League Champ Missouri State 86-69
Release: Sunday 03/03/2012 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Freshman Shronda Butts (Des Moines, Iowa/East) scored a season-best 20 points and senior Latasha Hollingshed (Bellwood, Ill./St. Joseph/Illinois Central) added a season-high 17 points off the bench to help power Bradley to an 86-69 win at regular-season MVC champion Missouri State Saturday to close out the regular season.

Bradley (16-14 overall, 7-11 MVC) opened the game with a 9-2 run and never trailed in the contest, tying the school record for road wins in a season with the team's eighth road victory of the year.  BU won at Missouri State for the third time in the last four years and fourth time in the last six trips to Springfield, Mo.

Missouri State (21-7 overall, 14-4 MVC) entered the game on an 11-game win streak and ranked as the top offensive team in the conference, but shot 33.3 percent from the field against the Braves.  The victory also snapped MSU's 12-game home win streak. 

Bradley led by as many as 13 points in the first half and held a 42-34 advantage at the break after limiting Missouri State to 30.8 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes. 

The Braves did the bulk of their damage inside, scoring 46 points in the paint with Hollingshed and senior Leah Kassing (Mt. Sterling, Ill./Brown County) combining for 33 points on 16-of-25 shooting and 15 rebounds. 

Bradley stretched the lead to as many as 17 points (57-40) on a Leah Kassing basket with 13 minutes to play, but back-to-back three-point plays by the Bears helped fuel an 8-2 MSU run which trimmed the BU lead to 59-48. 

With Bradley holding a 68-60 lead with six minutes to play, Hollingshed had a three-point play and sophomore Catie O'Leary later added one of her own to highlight a 12-3 BU run which pushed the advantage back to 17 points (80-63) with just under four minutes to play as Bradley closed out the 86-69 win. 

Butts hit 8-of-13 shots and finished with 20 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals.  Hollingshed was 8-for-11 from the floor and added season highs of 17 points and six boards.  Kassing added 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in 19 minutes, while O'Leary joined the trio in double figures with 14 points.

Bradley shot 52.2 percent from the field and outrebounded Missouri State 44-42.  Senior MacKenzie Westcott (Williamsburg, Iowa/Williamsburg) finished a point short of a double-double, collecting nine points and 10 rebounds. 

Karly Buer led the Bears with 15 points and was one of four MSU players to score in double figures. 

Bradley will play Southern Illinois in the opening game of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Thursday at 4 p.m. in St. Charles, Mo.


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