#13 Central Missouri hands Lions tough 75-67 setback

JOPLIN – Despite a tie game with less than eight minutes to play and three Lions finishing in double figures, the Missouri Southern women’s basketball team dropped a tough 75-67 contest to the 13th-ranked Central Missouri Jennies this afternoon at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Southern (14-6, 8-5 MIAA) was led in scoring for the third time in the last four games by senior forward Dominique Mosley, who finished with a team-high 15 points, while hitting 7-of-9 from the free throw line. Alexis Fitzpatrick and Sharese Jones added 13 and 12 points, respectively. Mosley finished with six rebounds while all eight Lions who played registered at least one assist led by Jones with four.

The Jennies (18-3, 12-2) were led in scoring by Keuna Flax with 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field. BreAnna Lewis added 16 points while Quinnecia Twine came off the bench to chip in 15, including going a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe.

With the Lions getting off to a slow start offensively, Central took an early 12-5 advantage after the first four mintes of play, but the Lions quickly responded with five quick points from Fitzpatrick and a pair of free throws from Samantha Soyez to cut the lead to 14-12. UCM responded with a 9-0 run to take their largest lead of the game at 23-12 with 11:01 to play in the first half. After a layup from Tee Singleton stopped the run, Southern scored eight of the next ten points to cut the lead to five (27-22). After Central regained a 10-point lead, Singleton nailed her only three-pointer of the game, but the Jennies would take a 37-31 edge into halftime. Both sides shot very evenly from the field in the first half as Southern shot 44.0% (11-25) and Central shot 46.3% (13-28).

Coming out of the locker room looking to start the second half strong, the Lions did just that hitting three of five field goals in the first four minutes of play to close the gap to one at 43-42 after a jumper from Mosley. The Jennies built their lead back to an eight-point cushion, but back-to-back three pointers from Soyez and Shawnee Phillips cut the lead back down to two with 12:09 to play. After a layup from Mosley tied the game at 61 apiece with 7:40 to play, a pair of free throws from Twine and four more points from Flax pushed UCM lead to 67-61. Southern continued to battle as Mosley knocked down a pair of free throws to close to within three at 70-67, but that would be as close as the Lions got as the Jennies hit two layups and a free throw to win by a final of 75-67.

Southern shot 21-of-48 (.438) from the field on the game, while UCM was 23-of-47 (.489). The Lions went 16-of-21 (.762) from the charity stripe, while the Jennies shot a season-best for a Lions opponent knocking down 25-of-28 for a 89.3% clip. The lions dished out 18 assists while hitting a season-best nine three-pointers as Fitzpatrick and Phillips each nailed three in the game.

Southern returns to action at home on Wednesday evening when they host Northwest Missouri (9-12, 6-8) at 5:30 p.m. at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.