Missouri State advances out of women’s First Four

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Mya Bhinhar scored 12 points, Mariah White had 11 points and five steals and Missouri State beat Florida State 61-50 on Thursday night in a First Four game.

Eleventh-seeded Missouri State (25-7) will face sixth-seeded Ohio State in the Spokane Region on Saturday.

White scored six straight points during an 11-2 run to open the third quarter, capped by a steal and fast-break layup for a 40-31 lead. The Lady Bears outscored Florida State 21-10 in the third, with eight points from White, for a 50-39 lead entering the fourth.

Missouri State didn’t score in the fourth until Brice Calip banked in a jumper with 5:42 left for a 52-44 lead, but Florida State (17-14) didn’t take advantage. White made it 56-46 on a runner in the lane.

Sydney Wilson also scored 11 points for Missouri State and Ifunanya Nwachukwu had 10. The Lady Bears forced 17 turnovers and held Florida State to just 27.4% shooting.

“We just played with a lot of heart,” Missouri State coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton said. “Defending and rebounding was the key to this game. And we did that at a very high level. And we were able to get stops, rebound and push in transition, and play our style and our tempo. … We finished plays on the other end, and we didn’t get rattled. We started off great, they punched and we punched back.”

Abigayle Jackson, Missouri State’s leading scorer this season at 13.2 points per game, went to the bench with 3:18 left in the third quarter after picking up her fourth foul. She returned to the floor with 7:54 remaining in the fourth, but fouled out on Florida State’s next possession. She finished with six points.

O’Mariah Gordon scored 12 points for Florida State. Morgan Jones, Florida State’s lone player averaging double-digit points this season, was held to four points on 1-of-8 shooting.

Missouri State opened with a 14-1 run, but Florida State responded with a 25-4 spurt before the Lady Bears closed the half on an 11-3 run to tie it at 29.

The Seminoles were 6-of-25 shooting from the field in the half but made 16 of 20 free throws. Florida State didn’t attempt a free throw in the third quarter and finished 18 of 24.

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More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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