The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 25, 2014

Lions turn red hot on Pink Day

On Pink Day, Missouri Southern coach Ronda Hubbard was seeing red as the Lions had only one offensive rebound.

It was worse in the second half as the Lions did not grab one single offensive rebound; however, place the blame on the shooting percentage.

The Lions shot 79 percent (11-of-14) from the field in the second half and pulled away in the final five minutes for a 65-50 victory over Missouri Western on Saturday afternoon at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Dominique Mosley hit 6-of-7 field goals and scored 13 points to lead the Lions, and Shonte Clay (3-of-4 from the floor) and Sharese Jones (3-of-5) added 10 apiece. All of Jones’ points came in the second half as the Lions (14-3, 8-2 MIAA) improved to 10-0 at home this season. The Lions, who are third in the conference standings, also picked up a game on first-place Central Missouri, which lost at home to Lindenwood 65-64.

The Lions’ 62 percent shooting for the game certainly helped overcome 19 turnovers and a 39-27 rebounding disadvantage.

In contrast to MSSU, the Griffons (7-10, 2-8) claimed 22 offensive rebounds, but that also can be attributed to their 26 percent shooting on 15-of-57 accuracy.

On one possession with 6:30 remaining, the Griffons had five offensive boards, but they scored only one free throw on the trip.

“They had five people flying in there (to rebound),” Hubbard said. “The crazy thing is when you have five people crashing the boards like that, if you get the rebound, you should have numbers going to the other end. We never did. They were crashing, and they were getting back. We just didn’t have a lot of transition buckets unless we got steals … none off of a rebound. They are quick and athletic.”

The Lions shot 50 percent from the field and led 27-22 at the break. Clay, who had eight points in the half, made two buckets in the final minute to give the Lions an eight-point lead, but Stephanie Lichtenauer’s 3-pointer from the right wing at the buzzer pulled the Griffons within five at the break.

Samantha Soyez provided a spark for the Lions early in the second half by converting a three-point play on a drive down the lane, making a steal and later a pass to set up Shawnee Phillips’ 3-pointer that gave the Lions a 35-26 lead.

Eight minutes later, Soyez drove across the lane and hit a left-handed shot, and her assist set up Nicole Hartzog’s basket for a 46-34 lead with 8:05 to play.

“I thought we just needed a lot of energy,” said Soyez, who finished with seven points, six assists, three steals and only one turnover in 29 minutes. “We were kind of stagnant for a little bit. I wanted to provide some sort of energy.”

“Sam has not played well in the last couple of games,” Hubbard said. “I really challenged her to come out and play better defense, do some other things. She’s one of the better passers in the league obviously just by her assists, but she can do a lot more than what I think other people think, and I think sometimes even more than she thinks. I’m putting pressure on her to see herself performing other ways … score a little bit. Today I thought she really did a nice job on the defensive end.”

The Griffons pulled within five points before the Lions outscored them 16-6 during the last 51⁄2 minutes.

“They are really athletic, and they put some pressure on us,” Soyez said. “We struggled executing for a little bit, but once we got back to our game plan, we were fine.”

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