Southern continues to climb the MIAA conference rankings


Kristen Stacy/The Chart

Womens Basketball Jan31

Missouri Southern’s women’s basketball team was back in action following an upset loss against conference opponent Missouri Western on Jan. 24. The Lions (14-5, 8-4 MIAA), still sitting in the fourth spot in the MIAA standings, were looking to get back to winning basketball against conference opponents Southwest Baptist and Central Missouri.

“We can’t let one lost affect the games we have ahead,” said Jordan Dinyer. “We have a goal to finish in the top four in the conference. In order to do that, we must focus on one game at a time.”

First up was Southwest Baptist. This is the first of two meetings in store for both teams this season. The game took place in Meyer Sports Center in Bolivar. In the first half, the Lions would get their biggest lead of the half at 11, 36-25, with 3:11 remaining. To end the half, SBU would spark a 6-0 run and cut the deficit to five going into the locker room.

Eight of 10 players, including the starters, scored a basket for the Lions in the first half. The Lions shot 50 percent from behind the arc, while only managing to attempt and hit one free throw.

In the second half, SBU would get as close as 51-47 with a 7-2 run with 11:13 to play. From that point on, it was all Lions as they scored 28 points to SBU’s 14 for the remainder of the game. Lions won, 79-61.

Three Lions scored in double figures. Nic Hartzog led with 19, Sharese Jones added 17 and Camila Lacerda hit 12. Jones narrowly missed her sixth double-double of the season as she pulled down nine rebounds. After only attempting and hitting one free throw in the first half, the Lions hit 20-24 from the line in the second half.

Next was a date with the Jennies from Central Missouri in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. The Lions hadn’t beaten the Jennies since the 2010-2011 season. The Jennies have won six straight versus the Lions (3-0 in last three visits to Leggett & Platt since 11-12). The Lions were looking to change their misfortunes against the visiting Jennies, and so they did.  The Lions, in front of another raucous crowd, beat the Jennies 71-65.

The first half was back and forth between both teams. The score was tied 17-17 at the 8:51 mark. That was the last time the score would be tied before the Jennies went on a 13-7 run to end the half, 30-24. Both teams shot under 50 percent from three-point range and from the field.

The second half saw an offensive explosion from the Lions. It was much needed; the Jennies fought the whole 20 minutes. A jumper from Alexis Fitzpatrick at the 3:38 mark gave the Lions a 62-60 lead. The Lions had trailed for 8:32 before the jumper by Fitzpatrick. After forcing a missed shot on the other end, a huge three from Tami Morice made the score 67-63, Southern, forcing a Central timeout. From there, the Lions wouldn’t relinquish their lead.

“It gets us pumped up to have everyone in attendance,” said Morice. “We really appreciate it.”

The Lions outscored Central 26-11 off the bench. Jones notched another double-double, scoring 15 points and 15 boards. Hartzog scored 13, while Morice scored 10 off the bench, 3-5 from the field and 2-4 from long range.

The Lions will take a week off but will be back in action on Feb. 7 as Southern travels to Warrensburg to take on the Jennies again. Tipoff from the Multipurpose Building is slated for 1:30 p.m.