The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 4, 2013

Singleton leads Southern women past Northwest Missouri

By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor

— Tee Singleton acknowledges that scoring is not her primary responsibility.

“I know my job first is to get my teammates the ball and go from there,” she said. “Then they come to me when people forget about me. I’m fine with that. That’s the job of a point guard.”

Singleton handed out two of Missouri Southern’s nine assists, but she also tallied 13 points as the Lions overcame first-half turnover and foul problems to beat Northwest Missouri State 64-55 Thursday night in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Singleton hit all five of her shots from the floor, including a 3-pointer midway through the second half that helped ignite a 20-6 burst that turned a six-point deficit into a 50-40 lead with 7:00 left.

“Tee was exceptional offensively,” Lions coach Maryann Mitts said. “In the first half she was the one who was igniting us. She had the ball in her hands a lot more in scoring situations than she normally does. The (shots) she hit were huge momentum boosts. Those are the (shots) we want her to take when they’d forgotten about her. She did a great job of being a great offensive player for us.”

The Lions’ game-deciding spurt also included a three-point play by Erin Rice and treys by Jolee Sharp and Nicole Hartzog.

Alexis Boeh’s three-point play gave Northwest Missouri a 42-41 lead with 10:41 left, but the Bearcats had only two points — both free throws — during the next seven-plus minutes. The Lions — as they did the entire game — limited the Bearcats to one shot per trip and finished with a 44-23 rebounding advantage.

Rice, Shatara Stone and Sharp contributed 10 points apiece for the Lions (7-3, 1-1 MIAA), who shot 44 percent (20-of-46) from the floor compared to the Bearcats’ 31 percent (15-of-48).

The Lions committed 18 of their season-high 26 turnovers in the first half, and they committed 15 fouls. The Bearcats’ 15-of-23 effort at the line in the first half earned them a 28-25 halftime lead.

But in the second half, the Lions reduced those numbers to eight turnovers and 10 fouls. And the Bearcats were only 6-of-10 at the line.

“We were very tentative against the press in the first half,” Mitts said. “We weren’t sure how to break that press. It was just a press to slow down the shot clock. It was not a press to steal the ball. Once we helped them realize how to break it with a couple of reversals and dribbling past halfcourt … we were trying to make it too complicated.

“We had 18 turnovers the first half, then only eight in the second half. And the fouls, we were in the situation where we were in the wrong spot and we were too slow. But we got to our spots a lot quicker in the second half, and we forced them to miss a lot of shots.”

“We came out really rusty,” Singleton said. “Once we settled down and let the game come to us, we played a different ball game.”

Ashleigh Nelson had 12 points for the Bearcats (8-3, 2-1).