The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 4, 2014

MSSU women ready for challenge Hays provides

By the numbers, Missouri Southern faces a tough challenge today when Fort Hays State comes to the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center to tip off the 2014 portion of the women’s basketball schedule.

The Tigers (8-1, 2-1 MIAA) lead the conference in 11 — yes, 11 — statistical categories, including scoring offense (86.4), scoring defense (55.9), blocked shots (8.0), assists (18.8), steals (12.0) and turnover margin (plus 9.6). They lead the country in blocked shots and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.61) and are second in scoring margin (30.6). Their only loss was 72-51 at No. 8 Central Missouri.

Kate Lehman, 6-4 junior, collected 21 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks in a 79-69 double-overtime victory over Northwest Missouri State. She averages 15.9 points and 11.8 rebounds and already owns the league record for career blocks with 269.

Katelyn Edwards, 6-0 senior, contributes 14.3 points and 8.3 rebounds, and Chelsea Mason, 5-9 sophomore guard, adds 13.6 points with the ability to score at the rim, from mid-range and from long range..

“This is going to be every much the challenge that Emporia State was,” Lions coach Ronda Hubbard said. “We were concerned about the post matchup against Emporia, and I thought we were competitive for 30 minutes, maybe a few less. Then Emporia got a little more physical down the stretch, and we kept letting up and letting up.

“Fort Hays has very strong post play, and Mason is an athletic guard who is a tough matchup.”

The Lions’ 77-56 loss at No. 3 Emporia State — it was 24-24 at halftime — ended an eight-game winning streak. The Lions are scoring 75.2 points and allowing 64.8, and at 8-2 overall and 2-1 in league play, they are one of the conference’s early-season surprises.

“Some people would argue whether we’ve played a competitive schedule,” Hubbard said. “We’ve only lost two — to No. 3 and No. 6 (Drury) in the country. We beat No. 20 (Washburn) and a team that was receiving votes (Southwestern Oklahoma State).

“Fort Hays is another team receiving votes. We are excited to see where we are with things.”

The Lions are led by four double-figure scorers — centers Dominique Mosley (18.0) and Shonte Clay (11.7) and guard Sharese Jones (14.6) and Nicole Hartzog (10.8).

Samantha Soyez returns to the starting lineup after missing basically two games with an ankle injury.

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