SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Chandler Smith had 15 points and 10 rebounds, Zykera Rice added 13 and eight and No. 21 Gonzaga held off Missouri State 70-67 on Sunday.
The Bulldogs (10-1), who have won six straight in their best-ever start, led most of the game but couldn’t put away the Bears (1-7), who have lost five straight.
“I’m hopeful that this is going to help us,” Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier said in a team release. “There’s bound to be more close games. This is just the second or third game that has come down to the wire, and there are more of those coming.”
Rice had the only Gonzaga basket in the last five minutes and went 4 for 4 from the line. Jenn Wirth, who had eight of her career-high 14 points in the fourth quarter, finally clinched it with two free throws with 17.5 seconds left. That was just after a three-point play by Brice Calip, who had a career-high 20 points for Missouri State.
Gonzaga led by as many as 14 and it was 39-28 at the half. The Bears were down seven after three when both teams went cold. The Bulldogs were 4 of 15 and Missouri State 5 of 17 in the final period. The Bears got as close as one and kept it close by making 8 of 10 free throws – 20 of 24 for the game – but Gonzaga was 8 of 11 until missing two was just a second left.
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