Southern women’s basketball ranks fourth in latest MIAA standings

Coming off a 13-point loss to Central Missouri on Feb. 7, the Lions women’s basketball team was back in action last week against conference opponents Northwest Missouri State and Missouri Western.

Last week on the road, the Lions (16-6, 8-5 MIAA), “backed down” from the Jennies, according to head coach Ronda Hubbard. The Lions were back on the road this week against the Bearcats of Northwest.

Southern trailed by as much as 12 in the first half, 29-17, but the Lions would cut the lead down to single digits, 37-28, at the break.

The difference was that two Bearcats scored in double figures to the Lions’ none, while as a team the Bearcats attempted 10 more free throws than the Lions. The Lions shot only 38.5 percent from the field.

The Bearcats stretched their lead to 13 points with 15:25 to play in the second half, and then the Lions caught fire. They went on an 18-0 run over the next five minutes to take a five-point lead, their largest of the game, at 52-47, with 10:19 left in regulation. Nic Hartzog and Lex Fitzpatrick combined to score 14 of those 18 points. The Bearcats climbed back into the game and erased several deficits to force overtime.

After trading a pair of free throws to tie the game at 71-71 with 1:31 to play, Northwest got a rebound from a missed three pointer that went out of bounds. Tanya Meyer was driving the lane when Fitzpatrick ripped the ball out of her hands and found a streaking Hartzog for the game-winning layup with three seconds to go. Time expired as the Lions fought tooth and claw to secure the road victory.

Hartzog finished with a game-high 22 points. Fitzpatrick scored 12 points, Jolee Sharp 11, and Sharese Jones 10. Fitzpatrick led the way for Southern with five assists as Hartzog, Sharp and Camila Lacerda each dished out three.

Next up for the Lions was a date with Missouri Western State inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Down 30-25 at the 4:29 mark, Southern closed the first half on a 12-1 run to take a 37-31 lead into the locker room. At the break Hartzog led all scorers with 13, hitting nine of 10 from the line.

The Lions stormed out the locker room with a 9-0 run to start the half. Southern’s largest lead of the game was at 17, 49-32 with 17:40 to play. The Griffons got within seven at 53-46 with just over 12 minutes to play. From there the Lions turned up the pressure and held on for an 11-point victory, 81-69.

Camila Lacerda led the way offensively for the Lions, finishing with a career-high 25 points, while Hartzog added 20 (16-20 from the line). Jenson Maydew led the way on the board as she pulled down eight to go along with her eight points. Fitzpatrick and Lacerda combined for nine out of Southern’s 13 assists on the day. Southern came within three of setting a new single game record for free throws, sinking 35-42.

The Lions take on rival Pittsburg State University in the State Farm Sonic Trophy Game tomorrow in Pittsburg, Kan. Tip-off is set for 1:30 p.m.