By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
Dominique Mosley thrives on competition.
“I like playing teams that are good,” she said. “That drives me more. I hate blowout games. I like games that are intense, games that make us better. It’s always fun to run over people, but at some point, is that really making you better?”
In that case, Mosley should relish today’s game when Missouri Southern entertains Northeastern State, one of the top teams in the MIAA.
The RiverHawks (12-5) have won eight of their last nine games, and they are 7-2 in MIAA play, tied for second place with Truman State, percentage points behind Washburn. Wednesday night’s 65-50 victory over Pittsburg State was the RiverHawks’ fourth conference win over a nationally ranked team.
“They are such a disciplined basketball team, as disciplined on offense as they are defensively,” Lions coach Maryann Mitts said. “They are going to make us work on the defensive end for quite some time. They run the shot clock down and are very meticulous in what they do offensively.
“Defensively they don’t make any errors. They are a well-positioned team defensively. That is why it is so difficult to score against them.”
For example, NSU held Pittsburg State to season lows in points (50) and field-goal shooting (30 percent).
Senior guard Tosha Tyler scored 19 points against the Gorillas, and senior guard Taylor Lewis had 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. During the last 11 games, Lewis has averaged 18.5 points and is shooting 49 percent from the floor, 51 percent from 3-point range and 91 percent at the foul line. She is second in the league with her 16.1 scoring average, and she is the top scorer in conference play at 18.8 points per game.
The Lions (10-6, 4-4) are looking to snap a three-game losing streak, and they are looking to get their offense back on track after setting season lows of 28 percent shooting against Nebraska-Kearney and 52 points against Emporia State in the last two games.
“We’re not setting good screens, and the timing is off on our offense,” Mitts said. “People who have normally been open are a step slow and not able to get a shot off. We’ve spent a lot of time (in practice) working on getting shots for people where they can hit them.
“And when you are having a hard time scoring, you typically rely on your defense. But our defensive field-goal percentage we have been giving up the last three games has been very high. We haven’t been able to generate any offense in transition.”
Mosley, 6-foot-1 junior from Chicago, generated a season-high 17 points Wednesday night at Emporia State, hitting 7-of-10 field goals and 3-of-4 free throws. Her former high was 12 points against Avila.
“I was trying to uplift my team,” Mosley said, “and maybe if I could get going, it would encourage others to get going. It’s just the drive to want to win. After two losses, I’m fed up. I have to do my part and hopefully others will do theirs.
“I was looking for anything. Their girl was playing off of me, daring me to shoot because she didn’t think I had that kind of range. Once I hit the first one, the next two or three came easy to me. And once she took that away, I decided to get to the block.”
“What happened was she combined her work ethic with her talent, and it all came together for her,” Mitts said. “The more competitive the game, the better Dominique plays.
“What I was most impressed with was the fact she played both ends of the floor. Her minutes have been limited because she can’t go for long periods of time without hurting us on the defensive end, but I felt Wednesday night she played very well on both ends.”