ST. CHARLES, Mo.- Michaela Dapprich and Alex Harden each scored 19 points to lead the Wichita State women's basketball team over Illinois State 69-65 to capture their first ever Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Championship.
Chynna Turner added 12 points and seven rebounds for the Shockers. Jessica Diamond had 11 points. Jamie Russell led the way for Illinois State with 27 points.
Dapprich started out hot on the offensive end, scoring the first eight points of the day for Wichita State on back-to-back threes and a jumper in the lane. The Shockers took an 8-6 lead into the first media timeout.
Each team continued to shoot well from the floor in the opening moments of the half. Alex Harden got on the board for Wichita State with a jumper from the right baseline, but Jamie Russell tied it at 17 with a tip-in off her own miss at the 11:35 mark.
The Shockers opened up the game with a 12-2 run that was started by back-to-back buckets by Darice Fountaine. Michelle Price capped the run with a jumper at the free-throw line to put the Shocker lead at 33-22. Janae Smith then scored five consecutive points for Illinois State to cut the Shocker lead to 33-27 with 5:10 remaining in the half.
After a Harden steal and layup that made the score 35-27, the Redbirds went on a 6-0 run. In all, Illinois State out-scored the Shockers 10-2 over the final 3:50.
After being up by as many as 11, the Shockers took a 40-39 lead into the break. Dapprich led Wichita State in scoring with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Turner scored nine points and pulled down four rebounds in the half. Jamie Russell scored 20 points on 10-of-11 shooting for the Redbirds.
A 3-pointer by Russell early in the second half put Illinois State up 44-40 with 18:09 remaining in the game.
Dapprich gave the Shockers their first lead since the opening minutes of the second half with a 3-pointer from the top of the circle. Two minutes later, a layup by Turner stretched the lead to 56-51 at the 11:08 mark.
At the 9:12 mark, Diamond scored her first basket of the second half and connected on an old-fashioned 3-point play to put Wichita State up, 61-55. The Redbirds got it back down to a two-point Shocker lead, 64-62, with a long shot from behind the arc from Candace Sykes.
After a jumper by Dapprich, neither team scored for four minutes until Smith finished a 3-point play of her own to cut the Shocker lead to one, 66-65, with 1:10 remaining. Then, with 23 seconds left, Harden missed a jumper, hustled to get back her miss and hit her next attempt to put Wichita State back up three. Diamond then iced the game on a free throw with 18 seconds remaining.
Harden was named the tournament MVP, while Dapprich was selected to the all-tournament team.