One of MWSU’s ‘better games’ stops women’s postseason


File Photo

Robin Kantin, sophomore guard, earned an MIAA all-conference team honorable mention.

T.J. Gerlach

Head women’s basketball coach Maryann Mitts said she hardly ever gives credit to her opposition, but Missouri Western State University deserved to win the March 2 game against the Lions.

Missouri Southern’s women’s basketball team lost its first-round game of the MIAA Postseason Tournament to MWSU 79-59.

“I thought that Missouri Western probably played one of their better games of the year,” Mitts said. “Their inside game was unbelievable.”

Mitts said the Lions knew the Griffons had two key players to stop, but a third Griffon, Jill Johnson, “probably had a career night against us.”

“Western is tough enough to beat just trying to stop two people,” Mitts said. “But you encompass another third, and they were pretty much unstoppable.”

She said the Lions played a competitive 30 minutes of basketball but started to struggle in the final 10 minutes. She said the team was executing plays well, but the shots would not fall in.

Robin Kantin, sophomore guard, was the Lions’ leading scorer. She had 18 points.

Dana-Mae Robbs, junior forward, was next with 14. She was followed by Dacie Reutlinger, senior forward, who put up 11 points.

Reutlinger also led Lions’ rebounding, grabbing nine boards. Robbs was next with eight.

Kantin and Nicole Greninger, senior guard, had four rebounds each.

Although the Lions ended their season at 16-12, Mitts said the success of their season cannot be measured by their record.

She said it is nearly impossible to be successful when a team brings in nine new players like Southern did this year.

“We were able to have great leadership from our returners,” Mitts said. “Our basketball team meshed extremely well both on and off the floor.”

The Lions finished fourth in the MIAA this season when they were picked No. 7 in the conference preseason poll.

“On the women’s side in the MIAA, it’s a joke around the league that the rest of us just play for third,” Mitts said. “Washburn and Emporia lead the pack.”

Mitts also said the team faced other challenges, including her tearing her achilles’ tendon in October.

Despite these obstacles, she said the team accomplished some things in conference play that she had not seen in her time at the helm.

“Playing well on the road has always been a struggle for this program, and this year we were very successful on the road,” Mitts said.

These road successes included the first road win against Central Missouri State University since 1996 and taking the No. 1-ranked Washburn University Lady Blues to overtime.

Freshman guard/forward Meghan Welch earned the MIAA Freshman of the Year award this season. Mitts said it is a great honor for both Welch and Southern.

Reutlinger and Kantin also received honors from the MIAA. Reutlinger earned a spot on the All-MIAA second team, and Kantin earned an honorable mention.

“Dacie was the only player that received Player of the Week honors throughout the year other than an Emporia or Washburn player,” Mitts said.

She said that was an amazing feat.

“I think Robin just being mentioned on the all-conference team shows that she has respect from the other coaches in the league,” Mitts said.

Mitts said losing Reutlinger will probably hurt the Lions more than they expect it to right now.

She also said losing Greninger will hurt because she brought far more to the program than anyone could have expected.

“We’re going to miss the intangibles that Nicole brought to the floor,” Mitts said.

For recruiting purposes, Mitts said she and her staff are looking to sign two post players that can come in and be successful immediately. They will also sign a third player, which will be the best player they find for any position.