The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 22, 2014

Jeronimus provides punch as Gorillas down Southern

Pittsburg State turned a nine-point deficit into a 10-point lead during an 11-minute stretch in the second half and held on to nip Missouri Southern 71-68 Saturday afternoon in an MIAA women’s basketball game before a season-high crowd of 3,179 at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Lizzy Jeronimus, who’s made and attempted the most free throws among NCAA Division II women, did so again on Saturday, converting 16-of-19 while scoring a game-high 26 points. Jeronimus, now 197-of-234 at the line for the season, scored all eight Gorilla points during the final 5:30.

“It was a game of runs,” PSU coach Lane Lord said. “Of course, most college basketball games are, but we made our run to go up 10 late and we were able to hang on.

“We had a couple of careless turnovers, but if the game is on the line and you have Lizzy Jeronimus, you have to feel pretty good about your chances. She continues to get to the line and make plays for us.”

The Lions used a 3-point goal by Shawnee Phillips and two free throws by Dominique Mosley after a Sharese Jones steal to pull within 70-67 with 50 seconds left. The Gorillas worked the shot clock below five seconds before Jeronimus missed a contested shot, and the Lions rebounded and called a timeout with 19.5 seconds left.

When play resumed, Mosley was fouled on her drive to the goal, and she made 1-of-2 free throws to make it 70-68 with 16.9 seconds left. Jeronimus was fouled after rebounding the missed free throw, and she also went 1-of-2 at the line to restore the three-point lead with 15.5 left.

Jones drove toward the basket but missed her layup, and the Gorillas ran off the final six seconds for their 10th straight victory.

“Kudos to Pitt. They made more plays down the stretch,” Lions coach Ronda Hubbard said. “We had a missed free throw and a missed layup down the stretch, but those aren’t the plays that cost you the game. There were a lot of plays before that.”

The Gorillas (21-6, 14-3 MIAA) also received 12 points from Cathy Brugman and 10 from Antqunita Reed while completing a 4-0 road trip and clinching a quarterfinal berth in next month’s conference tournament in Kansas City.

The Lions (17-7, 11-6) placed four players in double figures, led by Mosley’s 21 points and 11 rebounds. She was 6-of-14 from the field and 9-of-10 at the foul line in 25 minutes.

“Dominique Mosley is as good as they come in our league,” Lord said. “She should be on the first team (all-conference), I believe that. Ronda has done a great job. They are going to be hard to reckon with in the tournament.”

Nicole Hartzog contributed 12 points and eight rebounds, and Jones and Phillips finished with 11 points apiece.

Pittsburg State led by as many as 10 points in the first half before the Lions scored the final nine points to lead 38-36 at the intermission. The Lions began the second half with an 11-4 spurt to take a 49-40 lead on Mosley’s layin.

The Gorillas responded with a 13-3 run capped by Briget Hesser’s trey for a 53-52 lead with 12:20 left. They never relinquished the lead as the Lions struggled with Jones and Shonte Clay on the bench with four fouls.

“We finished the first half extremely well,” Hubbard said. “I basically was very pleased with what they were doing. I told them they needed to do what they were doing and do it a little bit better and a little bit faster. Pitt wasn’t going to sit around at halftime and come out sluggish. We knew they were going to come out on fire, and we had to do the same.

“One of the things we had to do a little better in the second half — which I’m not sure we did — was stop their runs a little quicker,” Hubbard said. “We had the lead, and a really good lead for a spell. We had a three- or four-minute span where we really broke down both on offense and defense.”

“They absolutely dominated the game on the boards (44-28),” Lord said, “but we got some big plays late. Our offensive execution between the 12-minute mark and 3-minute mark was pretty good. We got some great looks, timely 3s by Brigit Hesser. Cathy Brugman was outstanding and Lizzy getting to the line ... we got to the bonus early in the second half and that helped us.”

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