The Missouri State Lady Bears lost to Stanford University 46-55.

The game was close until the last minute.

CHICAGO – Missouri State’s best NCAA Tournament run in nearly two decades came to an end Saturday in the Chicago Regional Semifinal at Wintrust Arena, as the Lady Bears fell to No. 2 seed and sixth-ranked Stanford by a 55-46 final.

The Lady Bears (25-10) finished with their most wins in a season since 2005, holding the Cardinal to 25 percent shooting overall and 3-for-29 from 3-point range in a gritty defensive effort. Stanford (31-4) was equal to the task, blocking six shots and limiting MSU to 25.4 percent from the field and a season-low point total. The loss ended a streak of 16 consecutive wins away from Springfield over the course of 111 days.

Missouri State fell behind 4-0 and never led, scoring a season-low 19 first-half points but keeping Stanford within striking distance for the duration of the game.

After going without a field goal for nearly nine minutes around halftime, Jasmine Franklin scored for a 28-23 deficit with 7:12 left in the third quarter, and Brice Calip followed with a trey 39 seconds later for a 30-26 score. Freshman Sydney Wilson pulled MSU within a possession at 34-31 late in third, and Danielle Gitzen’s bucket with 1:04 left did so again at 38-35.

Stanford responded with an 11-1 run over the next five minutes to lead by 13, and the Lady Bears fired right back, scoring eight straight points to close to 49-44 on a Franklin basket with 2:09 remaining.

The Cardinal ended their five-minute scoring drought at the foul line with 27 seconds left, and went 6-for-8 at the stripe down the stretch to secure an Elite Eight berth.

Gitzen led MSU with a game-high 14 points to go with eight rebounds in her final game, and Franklin finished with 11 points and 10 boards for her sixth double-double of the year. Emily Gartner also had eight board for MSU, who trailed Stanford 55-48 in that category.

End of season notes: Missouri State won 20 games for the third time in the last four seasons, ending the year in the school’s 15th NCAA Tournament…MSU tied a school record with 35 games played on the season…The Lady Bears won 24 of their final 27 games after a 1-7 start to the year…In the program’s 50th season, the Lady Bears posted a winning record for the 34th time, earning a postseason bid for the 23rd time in 37 Division I seasons…Danielle Gitzen finished her career with 1,033 points, 478 rebounds, 294 assists and 164 steals, one of five players in school history reach those numbers in all four categories…Gitzen’s 1,033 career points rank 27th in school history, and her 127 games played rank eighth…Alexa Willard finished her junior season ranked 26th in school history with 1,034 points…Jasmine Franklin set Missouri State freshman records for blocks (47) and rebounds (267 – also eighth on overall MSU list), adding 54 steals to become the first player in school history with 40 blocks and 40 steals in a season…MSU’s plus-8.3 rebounding margin ranked second in school history…The 2018-19 season included all or parts of a 13-game overall win streak, 17-game MVC win streak, 13-game home MVC streak, and 10-game road win streak, some of the longest in school history in each category.

Recap courtesy of the Missouri State University Department of Athletics Communications