Women’s basketball sure to warm winter

Danny Bailey - Staff Writer

Danny Bailey – Staff Writer

Six points.

That’s how close the Missouri Southern women’s basketball team came to beating NCAA Division I Arkansas in exhibition play earlier this fall.

30 points.

That was the margin of defeat last year when the two teams met on the hardwood.

Let’s use that example of how much the Lions have improved in only one year.

The Lions came out hot last year, starting the season 9-1. People were talking conference titles before the women fell off the plateau and dropped 14 of their last 20 games. They barely made the post-season tournament and lost in the first round.

The Lions have started this year with a hot hand again. They are 6-0. And the 6 games haven’t been close either. The Lions are domination, for lack of a better word. The 2007 Lions are a new monster from the 2006 squad, being much deeper on the bench this year while MSSU head women’s coach Maryann Mitts has recruited to make sure size will never be in the opposition’s favor. The Lions are shooting better than 65 percent from the field and almost 40 percent from the Land O’ Plenty.

Watching the games this year have almost become a struggle to sit through. Not because the Lions are struggling to find victories, but because they are beating teams so handily. Many games are decided before the halftime break. Tougher competition from the MIAA will be the true test for the Lions this year. Missouri Southern went 7-12 last year against teams in the MIAA. This year’s greatly improved team must improve that statistic in the 2007-08 season if they hope to contend for a MIAA Conference title.

The margin of victory against Arkansas doesn’t mean anything if the Lions can’t fix another margin of defeat – the 23 point loss to Northwest Missouri in the first round of the post-season tournament. The team they play may be different, but the facts are the same. The Lions can’t fall off the horse in the middle of the stream. They have to finish, and this year’s team can do it.

The MSSU women should definitely be a reason you get off your couch and come to the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center this winter. As if hearing the announcer struggle through pronouncing Fatai Hala’ Api’ Api’s name wasn’t enough for you, the Lions this year will not disappoint.