By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
KIRKSVILLE, Mo. —
Missouri Southern shot 52 percent from the floor and dominated the rebounding from start to finish.
But turnovers spelled defeat for the Lions as they dropped their MIAA opener 72-62 to Truman State on Saturday afternoon at Pershing Arena.
The Lions matched their season high with 24 turnovers — twice as many as Truman State committed. Those miscues led to the Bulldogs’ 26-14 advantage in points off turnovers.
“A lot of them were unforced turnovers,” Lions coach Maryann Mitts said. “We had some people not play strong with the ball. We made some poor decisions, especially going to the basket.”
Missouri Southern (6-2) trailed 31-24 at halftime after turning the ball over 15 times, leading to 13 Bulldog points.
The Lions started strong in the second half and twice took four-point leads in the first seven minutes.
The Bulldogs (6-1, 1-1 MIAA) responded with a 10-3 run during the next three minutes for a 48-45 lead, and minutes later, a 12-3 run aided by Lion turnovers expanded Truman State’s lead to 60-50 with 6:32 left.
Johnna tenBerge’s 3-pointer from the left corner pulled the Lions within 52-50. But then in a 48-second span, Allie Norton hit a trey from the right wing, Becca McHenry made a layup after a turnover, and Nicole Gloor converted a three-point play after another turnover for the 10-point lead.
McHenry and Norton tallied 18 points apiece to lead the Bulldogs. McHenry scored half of her points in the first eight minutes, and Norton nailed 4-of-8 from long range to account for half of the Bulldogs’ eight treys. Gloor, effective down low, added 11 points for the Bulldogs.
Shonte Clay scored 10 points to lead the Lions, and Nicole Hartzog, Erin Rice, Shatara Stone and Dominique Mosley all had nine points. The Lions shot 52 percent (27-of-52) from the floor, led by Hartzog (4-of-4), Clay (5-of-6) and Stone (4-of-6).
The Lions, with Mosley and Jolee Sharp grabbing six apiece, outrebounded the Bulldogs 36-21.
Truman State owned a big edge at the foul line, going 14-of-16 to the Lions’ 4-of-8. The Bulldogs hit 11-of-13 charities in the second half to the Lions’ 2-of-4.
“Layups, free throws, turnovers,” Mitts said. “We started out the game, and we missed at least four layups. We had the looks early, and you have to convert those layups early because on the road you’re down 10 anyway. You have to get some success early, and we didn’t.”
Down 31-24 at the half, the Lions caught up in the first two minutes on Tee Singleton’s steal and layup, Samantha Soyez’s basket off an inbounds pass and tenBerge’s trey from the wing.
A 9-0 run — two layups by Hartzog, one by Stone and a three-point play by Rice — gave the Lions their first lead, 42-38.
“We made some good runs, but we didn’t have enough people come and play well enough,” Mitts said. “Nicole Hartzog gave us some great minutes. Dominique Mosley gave some great energy off the bench, but it seemed like for every run we made, defensively we would give up a 3 or we’d foul.
“That’s what I’m most discouraged about. Against Drury (62-59 victory one week earlier) our defensive was phenomenal, and we had key players step up and stop their key players. But when you give up eight 3s. We knew (Norton) was a great 3-point shooter, we knew (Courtney Strait) was a great 3-point shooter, and we knew (McHenry) was just a flat-out scorer. We didn’t do a good enough job on those three players to give us a chance to win the ball game. I think they felt comfortable all day offensively.”
The Lions play a nonconference game Saturday at Harding.