Joplin, Mo. -- The NBA Three-Point Shootout at All-Star Saturday night may still be a week away, but Jolea Apon gave the fans at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center an early appetizer by hitting a school-record 11 threes and scoring a career-high 35 points in powering the Missouri Southern Lions to a critical 87-64 win over the Missouri Western Griffons Saturday evening (Feb. 6). The Lions now sit one and a half games ahead of the Griffons for the eighth and final spot in the MIAA Postseason Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. The Lions are now 6-8 in the MIAA while the Griffons fall to 5-9 in the league.
Apon's 11 treys breaks the previous school-record of nine threes set by Sonya Harlin in 1993. Her 11 threes also tie her with Laura Satterfield and Jenni Miller for the all-time MIAA record.
The Lions built an early 12-5 lead before threes from Brittany Casady and Colleen Schneider and two free throws from Jessica Koch put the Griffons ahead 13-12.
That's when Apon began to heat up as she scored the next eight points over the next 3:17 on two threes and a pair of free throws for a seven-point Lion lead with 10:35 remaining.
After the Griffons scored five straight to come within two, Apon again answered with a three and Lovejoy converted a three-point play that gave the Lions a 26-18 lead with 6:24 left in the first half.
The Lions led 26-20 when Apon put on a show for the crowd at Leggett & Platt by hitting the Lions' next five shots, all from long distance. The result was a personal 15-3 run by Apon for a 41-23 lead with 2:12 left in the opening half.
Southern went on to a 46-30 advantage at the half.
The Lions were never seriously threatened in the second half and fittingly Apon's school-record tying ninth three gave the Lions (12-9, 6-8 MIAA) their largest lead of the night at 69-40 with 9:32 left.
Apon's record-setting 10th three came at the 1:31 mark that gave the Lions an 84-57 lead.
Apon then delivered her 11th three of the night for good measure just 30 seconds later to cap off her career night.
Apon shot 11-of-19 overall from the field, all from three point distance. She also recorded three assists and three steals. Erin Rice and Michelle Hedgecock each scored 13, with Hedgecock pulling down a team-high nine rebounds.
Jessica Koch led the Griffons with 20 points and seven rebounds. Brenna Saline added 12 for the Griffons (7-15, 5-10 MIAA).
The Lions will now gear up for Sonic Trophy Series showdown at home against the Pittsburg State Gorillas on Wednesday evening (Feb. 10) at 5:30 p.m. The Gorillas slipped by the Lions 67-66 in the first matchup this season (Jan. 2) in Pittsburg, Kan.