• Snow sisters playing key roles for Missouri State

  • When Tyonna Snow started the transition from high school star to college freshman, she didn’t have to look far to find someone to ask for advice.

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  • When Tyonna Snow started the transition from high school star to college freshman, she didn’t have to look far to find someone to ask for advice.
    The 2012 Blue Springs High School graduate and freshman on the Missouri State women’s basketball team simply turned to her older sister, Bry Snow, who is a junior for the 14-15 Bears after transferring from Cincinnati following her freshman season.
    “My sister can tell me ahead of time, ‘You can’t do this. You’re not going to get away with that,’” Tyonna Snow said. “Or, ‘You have to be strong here because this will happen.’ And fortunately, the scenarios she’s told me have definitely shown up in games and in practices.”
    The former Wildcat standouts both play key roles for a squad that’s hoping to make a run in the upcoming Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
    Tyonna, who was The Examiner’s 2012 Player of the Year and the first Blue Springs athlete to ever play in four consecutive state final fours, has emerged as a major playmaker and is expected to be one of the program’s cornerstones for the next few years.
    On Feb. 25, she was named the MVC Newcomer of the Week after scoring a career-high 29 points and swiping seven steals, the eighth-best total in school history, in an 81-74 win over Southern Illinois. She also set a program record by making 18 free throws in 26 attempts, eclipsing the previous mark held by the NCAA’s all-time scoring leader Jackie Stiles. Two days later, she tallied 10 points, seven rebounds, three steals and three asisists in a 66-63 win over Evansville.
    Her rookie campaign started slowly, but she’s scored in double figures in seven of her last 11 games and is averaging 8.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.5 steals for the season.
    “As a coach, you have to find that fine line with such a tremendous athlete like ‘T’ is,” Missouri State coach Nyla Milleson said. “You have to make sure she understands the confines and the roles of what she has to do, yet be able to allow her to create. And I think we’ve found that balance over the last few weeks.”
    Tyonna admitted the adjustment to college, on and off the court, was a difficult one initially.
    “It was the definition of the struggle when I first got here,” she said.
    Eventually, she found a comfort zone after Milleson granted her more offensive freedom. Milleson said that’s something the freshman still has to work at channeling, but adds that she’s made major strides.
    “She just kind of gave me the green light to go ahead and play my game and do what I do best,” Tyonna said, “and that’s driving and beating people off the dribble.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Bry, who is a backup power forward, has also come on strong of late, registering 14 points and six boards in last Saturday’s 81-60 loss to Illinois State. That followed an eight-point, six-rebound effort in a 71-63 defeat to Indiana State in which she also recorded a pair of steals and blocks.
    “My role is to just bring the energy that I can to the team,” said Bry, who averages 4.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. “I stay aggressive with whatever it may be, whether it’s getting a shot late in the game or just buckling down and playing physical defense in the post.”
    Bry, a 2009 Blue Springs grad and all-state performer for the Wildcats, decided to transfer to Missouri State mainly because of the distance between Missouri and Cincinnati. She took a visit to Springfield in the spring of 2010 and was drawn to the family atmosphere within the program – something that’s obviously increased this year.
    “Being in practice and games together isn’t that new,” said Bry, who starred for Blue Springs during Tyonna’s freshman season. “But being on the floor together at the same time is always a great experience. And the best part about it is just seeing my mom (Tyra Snow) in the stands happy to see us playing together.”
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC

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