By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
EMPORIA, Kan. —
Once again Missouri Southern struggled on offense.
Nevertheless, the Lions battled back within five points before Emporia State pulled away in the final five minutes to post a 68-52 victory on Wednesday night in MIAA women’s basketball action.
On a night that saw both teams struggle offensively, Laura Patrick missed only two shots while firing in 22 points as the Lady Hornets (9-6, 4-3 MIAA) beat the Lions for the 20th consecutive time at White Auditorium. Patrick, 5-foot-10 junior guard, was 6-of-8 from the floor, 4-of-5 from 3-point range and 6-of-6 at the line for her 22 points, seven above her season average.
Center Merissa and guard Rachel Hanf contributed 15 and 13 points, respectively, for the Hornets, who shot 52 percent in the second half to raise their game total to 43 percent (21-of-49).
Dominique Mosley, 6-1 junior center, tallied a season-high 17 points for Missouri Southern, going 7-of-10 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the line in only 18 minutes.
“She was tremendous,” Lions coach Maryann Mitts said. “She’s a competitor. The tougher the battle, the tougher she gets, and that’s what I love about Dominique. I thought she played well on both ends of the floor. … Her performance was phenomenal.”
Junior guard Shatara Stone chipped in with 12 points for the Lions, who shot 43 percent in the second half and 35 percent (18-of-52) for the game.
The Hornets dominated the rebounding 37-25 and hit 9-of-19 from beyond the arc while the Lions were only 2-of-9 from long range.
“One of our keys was no 3s … and they made nine of them,” Mitts said. “When they hurt us at the end of the half, that was Hanf shooting the 3 and Patrick shooting the 3. And then we missed seven free throws. When you couple that with Emporia’s 3s, that’s 34 points. This game was closer than the score indicated. They just made some runs, and we didn’t come back and make a run of our own.”
In contrast to recent games, the Lions got off to a good start as two free throws by Stone and Shonte Clay plus a basket off a drive down the lane by Stone produced a 6-0 lead in the first two minutes. The Lions maintained the lead for most of the first 13 minutes before the Hornets outscored MSSU 13-3 in the last seven minutes to lead 28-19 at the half.
The Lions, after leading 8-3, made only three field goals in the last 15 minutes of the half.
“We started very well. I was pleased with our starting lineup,” Mitts said. “I thought for the first 18 minutes or so, we played well. Then we fell apart in the last two minutes, and Emporia is known for explosive spurts offensively, and they had one at the end of the half.”
A Patrick trey gave the Hornets a 51-40 lead with nine minutes left, but the Lions used buckets by Mosley, Stone and Clay to climb within 51-46 with 7:10 to play.
The Lions trailed 53-47 after Stone hit the back end of a two-shot foul with 5:18 left, but the Hornets scored eight points in 70 seconds — two layins and a free throw by Quick and a Rheanna Egli 3 — to open a 61-47 lead with 3:50 remaining.
“Our kids play hard,” Mitts said. “It’s not a matter of not playing hard. It’s probably we lose focus. We don’t play every possession, and when we don’t play every possession, that’s when people make their runs.”
The Lions are home Saturday afternoon to face Northeastern State.