PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- Missouri State played an even second half with undefeated Gonzaga here Tuesday night, but a 16-0 run by the Bulldogs midway through the game was the difference in an 80-66 setback in the opening round of the Hardwood Tournament of Hope.
Keani Albanez scored a game-high 19 points for Gonzaga (5-0), which knocked down nine 3-pointers and shot 46.8 percent (29-for-62) from the field.
Missouri State (1-2) was led by Whitney Edie with 16 points on a 7-for-13 shooting performance, while Christiana Shorter scored 12, and Karly Buer tallied 11 points. The Lady Bears committed 20 turnovers and overcame a slow start with a 50-percent shooting effort in the second half.
A Hannah Wilkerson coast-to-coast layup with four-and-a-half minutes left in the first half tied the game, 27-27 and ended a 6-2 Lady Bears' run at the time. But Gonzaga responded with a 14-0 outburst before the half to lead 41-27 at the break, and then extended its advantage to 16 points with the first bucket of the second stanza.
Midway through the half, the Bulldogs extended their advantage to 21 points on a turn-around jumper by Stephanie Golden that made it a 62-41 game with 10:41 to go. But the Lady Bears never surrendered and trimmed their deficit to 10 on a Shorter layup at the 6:57 mark as part of an 18-point surge over the next four minutes.
But Gonzaga had too much firepower down the stretch and scored eight of the game's next 10 points to put it out of reach.
The Lady Bears finished 26-for-58 (.448) from the field, 4-for-12 (.333) from bonus distance and 10-for-17 from the line (.588). MSU owned a 36-35 rebounding edge and snagged 10 steals, including four by Kenzie Williams.
Missouri State will play in the consolation round of the tournament on Wednesday at 6 p.m. against Central Florida (1-4).
Other winners on Tuesday in the first round were Oregon State over UC Santa Barbara, 49-46; Winthrop over Mississippi State, 61-59; and Louisville over UCF, 94-73.
MSU faces Central Florida in consolation bracket Wednesday
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