By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
The Joplin Eagles didn’t have much difficulty making shots in the first half. Getting shot attempts was a different story, however.
The Nevada Tigers girls basketball team forced Joplin into 36 turnovers and beat the Eagles 43-21 on Thursday night at Missouri Southern’s Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium.
Joplin shot 66 percent from the field in the first half, but it was only 6-for-9 as 23 turnovers kept the Eagles from taking shots.
The Eagles continue to struggle against the full-court press.
“We turned it over — kind of unforced early — and really missed out on opportunities when they struggled to score,” Joplin coach Dustin Larsen said.
“As they sped the game up, we were hesitant at times. We did show some bright spots when we were aggressive and attacked. We really showed that we can attack pressure, but there were too many possessions where we were hesitant.”
Meanwhile, easy baskets from turnovers bailed the Tigers out of a poor shooting night as they were 1-for-16 on 3-pointers.
“(The press) pretty much controlled the game,” Nevada coach Brent Bartlett said. “Our girls did a tremendous job of putting out effort on our full-court press. We usually shoot the ball better than we did tonight. If it wasn’t for our defensive pressure, it could have been a long night. Our defense won the game for us.”
The game was scoreless until the 5:06 mark of the first quarter when Joplin’s Jacqueline Lieurance made a jumper. Joplin’s 11 first-quarter turnovers and Nevada’s poor shooting left the Tigers with a 7-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Joplin (1-12) tied the game at 7 on its first possession of the second quarter when Kelsey Johnson made a 3-pointer. The Eagles followed the basket by turning the ball over on their next eight possessions. Nevada (8-6) built a 16-7 lead in the process.
The Eagles pulled back to within 18-13 with 1:44 left in the half after Lieurance and Johnson combined for six points to capitilize on the times they broke the press.
Nevada broke the game open in the third quarter by outscoring Joplin 13-2 to take a 35-15 lead into the fourth.
Tori Dahmer led the Tigers with 18 points, while Morgan McNeley scored 15. Lieurance scored 12 for the Eagles.
Joplin was without one of its leading scorers and best ballhandlers as sophomore guard Bailey Taylor missed the game with a sickness.
Nevada will travel to face Carthage tonight. The Eagles will face Republic at 6 p.m. Monday in the Nevada Tournament.