4-point play leaves Southern stunned


Kelvin Duley II, Sports Editor

Several Southern players reacting to a made basket in the fourth quarter on Robert Corn Court against Missouri Western inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center for Pink Day on Jan. 30, 2016. The Lions lost that game, 71-70. 

The Missouri Southern women’s basketball team (14-8, 8-8 MIAA) suffered a heart wrenching loss in MIAA play last Saturday afternoon, dropping a 71-70 decision to No. 6 ranked Missouri Western State University on Robert Corn Court inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Tied at 65 apiece, Deb Holcomb hit the go ahead three pointer with 53 seconds left as the Southern faithful irrupted. Laquinta Jefferson of MWSU hit two free throws on the following possession to cut the lead to one forcing a Southern timeout. 

With 18 seconds left, up by one, Senior Sharese ‘Winkie’ Jones was fouled and stood tall at the free throw line with a chance to give her team a three point lead. 

Jones hit the first, 69-67. Jones couldn’t nail the second one but Kenya Wilson-Brown came up with seemingly the game clinching offensive rebound as she passed it back to Jones who was fouled with 12 seconds left. Again, the crowd erupted as Brown showed huge emotion and intensity following the foul. 

Southern had a chance to seal what would be their second victory over a top 10 ranked opponent on Robert Corn Court this season if Jones hit both free throws. 

Jones stepped to the line again, this time to give the Lions a four point lead. Jones hit the first free throw, 70-67. Jones, missed the second free throw attempt and MWSU gathered the board and called a timeout. Within a six second span, Southern’s best player and senior leader missed two of four free throws, leaving MWSU with a punchers chance. 

And a punchers chance was all MWSU needed. 

MWSU got the ball in the hands of their senior guard Sarafina Hardy with 3 seconds left. Hardy from the wing came off a screen and before running into a Southern double team, Hardy rose up at the top of the key for an off balance for three and sank it with the foul. A collective gasp you could hear from the Southern fans as Hardy could now give MWSU the lead with the free throw. Hardy completed the four point play and forced a Southern timeout with 1.4 seconds left. 

Holcomb got the last shot attempt but the shot didn’t come close to the rim as the Griffons escaped Robert Corn Court with a victory that will go down in the history books.

Southern players could be seen leaving the court in tears as the Lions have lost to the Griffons twice this season by a combine point total of three points. That was the first Griffons win on Robert Corn Court in eight seasons. What a remarkable way to snap that streak. 

“After going to their place and losing by such a small margin, I felt like we had unfinished business and that’s how I and the team approached the game,” said Brown. “The outcome didn’t turn out as planned but we played our best.”

“We knew it was going to her [Hardy]. Coach called it, we all called it. She’s known for hitting three’s in people’s faces and she did it,” senior Tami Morice said about the last defensive possession.

“We didn’t execute the little small detail plays which led up to the result we had in the end,” said Jones. 

Southern will be back in action tomorrow on the road in Topeka, Kan. taking on Washburn. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.