Lovejoy comes through late to lead Lions to 60-57 win over UNO

Joplin, Mo.-  Jasmine Lovejoy scored a game-high 21 points, including a two crucial scores late to lift the Missouri Southern Lions to a 60-57 win over the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks Saturday afternoon (Jan. 16) at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. 

The score was knotted at 55 when Lovejoy put the Lions up by two with a layup at the 1:04 mark of the second half.

The Lions then got a critical stop on the defensive end and Lovejoy again scored to put the Lions ahead by four at 59-55 with 19 seconds left.  The Lions worked extra hard for that bucket with three consecutive offensive rebounds that led to Lovejoy's layup.

UNO refused to go quietly as Jessica Zaruba made it a two-point game with a layup with 13 seconds left.

Lovejoy was then fouled and split a pair of free throws that kept it a one-possession game at 60-57.  But the Lions' defense forced a tough three-point attempt from the left corner that hit off the side of the basket and fell into the hands of LaTice Jones to seal the Lions' victory.

The entire second half saw very little breathing for anybody as the biggest lead of the half for either team was four points by the Lions on two occasions, with the last occurring at the 17:22 mark. 

The Mavericks got off to a quick start with a 9-0 spurt after Lovejoy scored the first bucket of the game for the Lions.  A three by Heather Pohl put UNO in front and consecutive layups from Alyssa Green and a layup by Jamie Nash gave the Mavericks a 9-2 advantage at the 15:33 mark of the first half.

The Lions trailed 14-6 when they ran off seven straight points that featured a layup from Michelle Hedgecock, a three by Jolea Apon and another layup from Lovejoy that made it a one-point game with 8:44 left in the opening half.

Pohl answered for the Mavericks with a pair of treys and one free throw to personally lead a 7-2 run for a 21-15 lead.

The Lions were down 26-23 when Apon scored five straight on a layup and another three to give the Lions their first lead since the early going.

After Green tied the score on a pair of free-throws, Jones gave the Lions the lead going into halftime at 30-28. 

Lovejoy hit 7-of-12 from the field to lead four Lions in double-figures.  Apon scored 11 while Hedgecock and Jones each added 10 with Hedgecock producing a game and career-high 14 rebounds.

Pohl led the Mavericks with 18 and Green scored 16 to go along with a team-high nine rebounds for UNO.

Rebounding was also a huge key in the win for the Lions, as Southern out-rebounded the Mavericks by a whopping 51-30 overall and 19-10 on the offensive glass.

The Lions' defensive effort limited the Mavericks to only 32.7 percent (18-of-55) overall from the field.

Next up for the Lions is a home matchup with the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats on Wednesday evening (Jan.20) at 5:30 p.m.  The Lions swept the Bearcats in the two meetings last year.