The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


January 31, 2014

MSSU women fall to Southwest Baptist

BOLIVAR, Mo. — Through 17 games this season Southwest Baptist averaged 6.1 3-point goals per game and shot 32 percent from beyond the arc.

But in Game No. 18, those numbers doubled, and a trey by Dilonna Johnson with 50 seconds left was huge as the Bearcats knocked off Missouri Southern 83-78 Thursday night at the Meyer Sports Center.

The Bearcats (9-9, 4-7 MIAA) sank 13-of-22 attempts (59 percent) from long range. Freshman Brook Duncan nailed 5-of-8 treys while scoring 23 points. She had 15 points in the first half, one above her season average.

Alex Botkin made all three of her 3-point shots while scoring 10 points, and Johnson finished 3-of-5 from the arc and scored 13.

Sharese Jones scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Lions (14-4, 8-3), who saw a five-game winning streak end. Jones, who had 14 first-half points, finished 7-of-12 from the floor and 4-of-4 at the line.

Shonte Clay scored 15 points, hitting 4-of-13 from the field, and Samantha Soyez and Alexis Fitzpatrick added 12 and 10, respectively. Dominique Mosley, the season scoring leader at 15.4 points, made 3-of-9 shots and was held to seven points.

“When you go on the road, if you can’t make your bunnies and you can’t take better care of the ball in key situations, you’ll get beat,” Lions coach Ronda Hubbard said. “I’m not saying we turned it over a ton (16 total, nine in the second half), but the times we turned it over, they were key times.

“When you go on the road, there needs to be an intensity about your defense, you have to be able to rebound, and you have to be able to make bunnies. We work well to get our post players the ball. Usually they are our go-to players, but tonight they both shot poorly from the field. Our defense and our non-productivity from three and four feet from the bucket, that was the difference in the game.”

While Johnson’s final trey was huge, things unraveled for the Lions during the final 78 seconds. The Bearcats led 73-71 when Mosley scored on the inside, but the basket was erased by a charging foul.

Johnson’s 3 pushed the lead to five points with 50 seconds on the clock, and seven seconds later, Jones was called for a charging foul and then a technical foul, apparently for not catching the ball after she bounced it on the floor. Leann Lansdown made both free throws for the technical for a seven-point lead, and the Lions never got closer than four points.

The Lions led 37-35 after a first half that included one big run by each team.

The Lions went on a 21-6 burst over a seven-minute stretch to turn a seven-point deficit into a 25-15 lead with 9:11 left in the half. Jones scored 10 of the 21 points.

The Bearcats responded with five treys — two of them thanks to friendly bounces off the rim – to take a 30-29 lead with 4:13 to play in the half.

Soyez then sank two 3s from the same spot at the top of the circle in the last four minutes of the half to give the Lions their two-point lead at the half.

The Lions shot 44 percent (25-of-57) from the floor , 46 percent (6-of-13) from the arc and 82 percent (22-of-27) at the line. The Bearcats wound up 26-of-50 on field goals and 18-of-26 on free throws.

The Lions play Saturday afternoon at Central Missouri, which earned a share of the MIAA lead Thursday night when Emporia State lost at Fort Hays State.

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