Women’s basketball fall short in final

Senior+Camila+Lacerda+looks+to+make+a+pass+during+the+matchup+against+Lindenwood+University+Feb.+25+in+the+Leggett+%26amp%3B+Platt+Athletic+Center.

Molly Schons | The Chart

Senior Camila Lacerda looks to make a pass during the matchup against Lindenwood University Feb. 25 in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Missouri Southern’s women’s basketball was back in action last Friday against the Jennies of the University of Central Missouri in the second round of the MIAA Conference Tournament in Kansas City, Mo.

The Lions earned the fourth seed, giving them a first bye. The Jennies, as a fifth seed, beat twelfth seed Lindenwood to earn a third matchup with the Lions. Southern defeated the Jennies on Jan. 31, 71-65. The Jennies returned the favor on Feb. 27, with a 61-48 victory over the Lions.

The Lions trailed at the half, 37-31, on 33 percent shooting and 11 turnovers.

Jordan Dinyer cut the Jennies’ lead to four (66-62) with a three-pointer with 2:26 left in the second half. Dinyer scored again after an offensive rebound and brought the Lions within striking distance (66-64) with 44 seconds left. That would be the last time the Lions scored, as the Jennies went on to hit four free throws to seal a UCM win.

The Lions shot 35 percent from the field and 33 percent from long range. For the game, the Lions committed 18 turnovers while being outscored by 22 points in the paint.

“This was very disappointing,” said Tami Morice. “UCM played better than us on that given night and we came up short. I’m proud of the way my team fought; we didn’t give up.”

The Lions finished the season 20-7, fourth in the MIAA conference, their first 20-win season in 19 years. The Lions fell just short of being selected to the NCAA Division II tournament.

The Lions lost six of their seven games to five of the top seven teams in the MIAA conference (twice to UCM).

Sharese Jones and Nic Hartzog both earned All-MIAA second team honors. Hartzog also earned first team All-Defensive honors as she led the MIAA in steals with 55 and a 2.1 per game average. Hartzog led the MIAA in free-throw percentage with .863.

Southern will be saying goodbye to five seniors: Lex Fitzpatrick, Nic Hartzog, Camila Lacerda, Shawnee Phillips and Jolee Sharp. The Lions will be returning nine players.

“We grew together as a team and achieved amazing things,” said Morice. “They made this season one that I’ll never forget. We’re definitely using this loss as motivation as we work harder to make it into the championship game next year.”