Lions back on track, two wins

Freshman guard Carol Koenig dribbles past SBU guard Jenny Miller in the Feb. 1 game at Southern.

Freshman guard Carol Koenig dribbles past SBU guard Jenny Miller in the Feb. 1 game at Southern.

Kristen Smith

After suffering a loss against the University of Missouri-Rolla Jan. 29, the women of Lady Lion basketball came back with a win against the Lady Bearcats of Southwest Baptist University.

The Lady Lions’ theory that they cannot lose at home proved itself on Feb. 1 as 1,100 fans turned out to watch.

Missouri Southern lost to SBU earlier this season in a close game, but the Lady Bearcats could not pull off another win on Lion turf. The Lady Lions kept a nine-point lead over SBU in the second half. With only two minutes remaining, SBU managed to tie the game at 63-63. Southern pulled through leaving SBU lacking five points in a final score of 68-63.

Senior guard Jacquie Rzezsut held the game highs with three 3-pointers and scoring a total of 14 points.

“We have all changed our mindset and have become more focused,” said junior forward Wyketha Harrell.

Senior guard Charity Slinker stepped in to start the game for Southern, scoring six points.

“I’m just going out and playing my hardest to do the best that I can for the team,” Slinker said.

On Feb. 5, the Lady Lions welcomed the Lady Jennies of Central Missouri State University to Joplin. Southern suffered a 76-72 loss from the Lady Mules in early January, but were able to make up for it in a 68-63 win.

“The game wasn’t as pretty as we would have liked it to be,” Slinker said. “But we pulled it out in the end.”

The Lady Lions finished the second half in a 36-36 tie with CMSU. The second half was back and forth in scoring, with Southern fighting to stay in the lead. With one minute on the clock, the Lady Lions led 66-63. In the last 23 seconds, Jennie guard Kinsey Lehe made a foul on Rzezsut, allowing her to score two additional free-throw points and giving Southern the five-point lead to finish the game.

“I think we are playing a lot as a team,” said junior center Lucimara Silva. “We were doing a good job with defense.”

Jennie center Melissa Richardson fouled out during the game. Proving they cannot lose at home is only a part of what the Lady Lions need to finish out the season.

“We have all become players instead of participants,” Harrell said.

The Lady Lions are preparing for the 1:30 p.m. Saturday game in Maryville against Northwest Missouri State University. The women lost 78-72 to Northwest earlier this season.

“Its a very important game,” Slinker said. “A must win. And we think this is one that we can go get.”