By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
TOPEKA, Kan. —
No. 9 Washburn moved ahead with a 10-point spurt shortly after halftime and cut down its turnovers in the second half to beat Missouri Southern 53-42 Wednesday night in women’s basketball action at Lee Arena.
Senior forward Tiara George, the MIAA’s No. 2 field-goal shooter at 60.8 percent, made all seven of her shots while scoring 15 points to lead the league-leading Lady Blues (14-3, 8-1 MIAA). She also grabbed eight rebounds in her 19 minutes to lead Washburn to a 36-25 rebound advantage.
The Lady Blues grabbed only three more offensive rebounds than the Lions (14-11), but Washburn did more with its extended possessions, owning a 20-6 margin in second-chance points.
Jolee Sharp and Dominique Mosley scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, for Missouri Southern (10-8, 4-6). Sharp hit 4-of-7 field goals and 3-of-4 free throws while Mosley was 4-of-7 from the floor and 2-of-2 at the line.
The Lions, who went more than five minutes without a point and almost seven minutes without a field goal, used a 7-0 burst in just 64 seconds — a 3-pointer by Sharp, two free throws by Mosley and bucket in the lane by Sharp after picking up a loose ball — to take a 22-16 lead with 3:16 left in the first half. A Samantha Soyez trey and Mosley basket in the last two minutes kept the Lions ahead at halftime 27-26.
Washburn, averaging 16.7 turnovers for the season, committed 17 in the first half — 14 in the first 13 minutes. But the Lady Blues reduced their turnovers to eight in the second half. The Lions also had 25 turnovers — 13 in the first half — and held a 22-13 advantage in points off turnovers.
“I think both teams played great defense,” Lions coach Maryann Mitts said. “We forced them to turn the ball over and they forced us to turn it over. I think that was not playing weak with the ball. I think most of those turnovers were forced.”
Two Sharp charities gave the Lions a 29-26 lead just over a minute into the second half, but the Lions didn’t scoes re again for five minutes.
The Lady Blues, meanwhile, ran off 10 straight points to take a 36-29 lead on George’s field goal with 14:30 left. The spurt on Kinderknecht’s 3 from the wing after the Lady Blues rebounded their missed free throw — the third time they turned a missed free throw into a field goal. In fact, the Lady Blues scored more points off missed free throws (7) than they did on made free throws (5-of-13).
The Lions missed 11 of their first 12 shots in the second half and scored only six points while falling behind 45-33 with 7:59 left.
“We played a great 36 minutes,” Mitts said. “The start of the second half really hurt us. We gave up a couple of 3s, we miscued offensively a couple of times that really would have helped us. … I was more concerned about us misfiring on some offensive plays.
“I was proud of our kids. They did a great job of executing a game plan.”
“In practice we’ve been focusing on defense,” Sharp said. “We know this team is very good executing their plays.
“Today we thought the effort was better. We’d been dropping behind early, but today we came out and gave it all we got.”
The Lions play Saturday afternoon at Fort Hays State.