First-half run dooms Lions in 78-62 loss at Missouri Western

St. Joseph, Mo. - The Missouri Western Griffons used a huge first half to wipe away an early deficit and defeat the Missouri Southern Lions 78-62 Wednesday evening (Dec. 30) in St. Joseph, Mo.

Things started out well enough for the Lions as Jasmine Lovejoy scored the Lions' first seven points to help Southern jump ahead 7-2 just 1:45 into the contest.

After Myriah Hicks made a layup that put the Lions ahead 14-7, the Griffons quickly turned the pendulum with a 16-0 run over the next 5:53 to take a nine-point lead with 8:42 left in the first half.

Jessica Koch and Colleen Schneider combined to score all 16 points in the surge for the Griffons. Kock hit back-to-back treys to make it a one-point game and Schneider nailed a jumper that gave the Griffons their first lead of the game.

Koch kept things going with a layup and another three before Schneider capped the run with a three-point play. The Griffons defense also fueled the surge by forcing the Lions into five straight misses and five turnovers during the nearly six minute span.

The Lions fought back with a 9-2 spurt on a three from Hicks and three straight buckets by LaTice Jones to cut the lead to 25-23 at the 6:01 mark of the first half.

The Griffons again pulled away though with a 11-2 run and went on to lead 38-27 at the half.

The second half didn't yield any better results for the Lions as the Griffons came out of the break on a 13-2 run to open up a commanding 51-29 advantage with 14:32 remaining.

The Griffons led by as many as 24 in the second half before Erin Rice tried to help the Lions hang around by scoring seven straight to lead a 12-2 spurt that brought the Lions to within 59-45 at the 8:21 mark.

But Koch again had an answer as she delivered six points to spark an 8-2 run that gave Western a comfortable 20-point lead. The closest the Lions came after that was the 16-point final margin.

Lovejoy had a team-high 15 for the Lions (8-3, 2-2 MIAA), while Rice added 13, one shy of her career-high. Jones also reached double-figures with 12 points, only two away from her career-best.

Koch led all scorers with 24 points and also tallied a game-high nine rebounds. Brittany Casady added 14 for the Griffons (3-8, 1-4 MIAA).

The Lions will now gear up for a Sonic Trophy Series showdown with the Pittsburg State Gorillas on Saturday evening (Jan. 2) at 5:30 p.m. in Pittsburg, Kan. The Lions and Gorillas split the season series last year, with each school winning on the road.