The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

March 1, 2014

Lion women post victory No. 19

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — In a 15-second span with less than five minutes remaining, Missouri Southern saw an eight-point lead cut in half.

But Tee Singleton nailed a 3-pointer, then scored again seconds later in transition to open a nine-point lead, and the Lions defeated Lincoln 60-52 Saturday afternoon at Jason Gymnasium.

Sharese Jones scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds — her second double-double of the season — and Dominique Mosley contributed 14 points as the Lions (19-7, 13-6 MIAA) reached 19 victories for the second time in five seasons and the third time in the last 18 seasons.

Now the Lions turn their attention toward the MIAA Postseason Tournament in Kansas City. The Lions are the No. 4 seed and will play their quarterfinal game at 2:15 p.m. Thursday against the winner of Monday night’s Nebraska-Kearney at Fort Hays State play-in game.

Nesha Wright’s steal and layup pulled Lincoln (5-21, 2-17) within 51-47 with 4:25 left. But on the Lions’ ensuing possession, Nicole Hartzog passed the ball outside to Singleton, and her shot from the left corner hit nothing but net.

“When I first saw that Nick was driving, I backed off to the corner and she kicked it out to me,” Singleton said. “Once I saw it go in, it was like momentum from there.’’

Seconds later, Alexis Fitzpatrick made one of her five steals, dribbled upcourt and passed to Singleton, who banked in the short jumper for a 56-47 lead with 3:32 left.

“We came down and were very disciplined on offense, and the ball seemed to end up in Tee’s hands,” Lions coach Ronda Hubbard said. “She made big shots. I’m very pleased with her and the way she finished the game.”

Singleton also was active on the defensive end, slowing down Jennifer Rosado, the Blue Tigers’ best offensive player. Rosado matched her average with 14 points, the last three coming with three seconds left.

“She’s a great player,” Singleton said. “She’s extremely fast, so it was up to me to try to beat her to the spot where I knew she was going. A couple of times she got me, but I feel I had help. It was a tough defensive assignment, but I knew what I had to do. I tried to keep her from getting into the lane, penetrating, and shooting 3s. She killed us at the free-throw line and shooting 3s the last time.”

“I not only thought Tee was critical in the last five minutes of the game offensively, but most importantly she was on Rosado at that time,” Hubbard said. “She did a great job of staying between her and the bucket, not fouling and keeping her off the free-throw line.”

The Lions limited the Blue Tigers to 35 percent shooting, and their 52 points were the second fewest allowed by the Lions in conference play, behind a 65-50 victory over Missouri Western on Jan. 25.

“I thought defensively we actually did some pretty good things,” Hubbard said. “We were getting beat a lot in the first half when they moved Rosado to the point coming off the (screen). They kept running it and running it the first half. They broke us down and got some good looks off of it. We talked about it at halftime, and the kids came out and competed a lot harder on that particular set. And we stopped it.”

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