Hubbard leads undefeated Lions into conference


Third year head coach Ronda Hubbard speaking to her team during a timeout against Minnesota State on Robert Corn Court inside The Leggett & Platt Athletic Center on Nov. 18, 2015. Hubbard has entered conference play undefeated for back-to-back seasons. Hubbard has 46 career wins at Southern. Hubbard led the Lions to their first 20-win season in 19 years in 2014. The 2015 women’s basketball team has more wins (6) then the 2015 football, soccer, and volleyball teams combined (5).

The Missouri Southern women’s basketball team wrapped up non-conference play last Saturday, beating Illinois-Springfield 60-42 inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. Southern, for only the second time this season, failed to score over 60 points, as the Lions downed UIS with a balanced offensive attack and stifling defense to remain unbeaten.

Leading scorer for the Lions Sharese “Winkie” Jones led the balanced attack with 14 points, shooting 60 percent from the field. She also added a game-high seven rebounds. Deb Holcomb scored 13 points on 5-11, shooting with six boards. Freshman Chelsey Henry had 12 points off the bench. Henry has scored in double figures off the bench in back-to-back games.

Senior Kenya Wilson-Brown had a career-high seven assists.

Southern (6-0, 0-0 MIAA) heads into conference play unbeaten for the second consecutive season.

Under third-year head coach Ronda Hubbard, the Lions have won each of their two conference openers, both coming against Nebraska-Kearney.

“A huge goal of ours was to go undefeated in non-conference regional play,” said Hubbard. “We’re competing, and we’ve been gritty in some of those wins, especially on the road. I always think defensively we can get better, but at this stage in the game we’re pretty solid. I think that’s definitely why we’re winning some of these games, because our defense is really good.”

Nearly a quarter of the way through the season, Jones leads the Lions in scoring, averaging 19 a game. Holcomb, a junior college transfer and who Hubbard is really impressed with through six games, is second on the team in scoring with 15.7.

“Holcomb is really starting to find her groove within the offense. Learning a whole new system is a tough thing. She’s not afraid to take the big shots. She’s performed really well in our highly competitive games,” said Hubbard.

Hubbard has also gotten some huge contributions from her local freshmen Henry (Neosha HS) and Desirea Buerge (Webb City HS). Both Henry and Buerge, combined, average 10 points and 25 minutes a game.

“I’m really pleased with our younger players as they are having to learn on the fly. I have an immense amount of confidence in both Henry and Buerge,” Hubbard said.

The Lions are 3-0 at home this season, averaging wins by a point differential of 22. Southern is scoring on average 71 points on Robert Corn Court, a four-point increase from their average point total on the road.

The Lions will be playing the second of three conference games in a row inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center tomorrow when Southern plays hosts to Northeastern State. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.