Pittsburg, Kan. - The comeback fell short for the Missouri Southern (13-8, 11-6) women as Pittsburg State (12-9, 10-7) held on to avenge an earlier loss as the Gorillas downed the Lions 63-60.
Jones finished leading all scorers with 19 points, Rice added 18, and Lovejoy added 16. Rice also recorded her second double-double of the season nabbing 11 rebounds for the Lions.
Southern dug themselves too big of a hole in the first half finding themselves down by as many as 15, 36-21 with 1:47 left in the first half.
After trading baskets for the first five minutes, the Lions and Pitt State were tied at 12 at the first media timeout, however coming out of the timeout, PSU hit two straight three pointers to take an 18-12 lead, forcing a Southern timeout.
Two free-throws by senior LaTice Jones would snap a 10-0 run by Pittsburg State at 22-14 with 9:13 left in the first stanza.
The Sonic Trophy Series rivals traded baskets for the next five minutes with senior Jasmine Lovejoy connecting on a lay-up and one at the 4:14 mark, 28-21.
Jones led the way in the first half with six points for the Lions, as Lovejoy and sophomore Erin Rice both added five a piece. Rice led all players with six boards in the initial stanza.
The Lions came out with energy and a 4-0 personal run by Jones, but PSU answered with two quick buckets of its own.
Southern took the lead in the second half, 50-48, off a driving lay-up by Lovejoy at the 9:30 mark. A pair of free-throws by PSU tied the game back up at 50-50, and a jumper by Baldetti gave the Gorillas the lead at 52-50 with 8:13 left. A lay-up by Jones with the assist from Rice tied the game at 52-52 with just a little over seven minutes remaining. Southern would then tie the game up one more time at 54-54 with 6:19 left before PSU would regain the lead for good on a three-pointer, 57-54, at the 6:08 mark.
Southern had their chances coming down the wire as Rice hit 2-of-3 free-throws and sophomore Kelby Fritz's three-pointer bounced off the front of the iron. PSU failed to connect from the charity stripe on their end going 1-for-3 and Rice's half court shot at the buzzer sailed wide left.
Southern will be in action at home Saturday night as they host the number 20 ranked, and NCAA Division II defending National Champions, the Emporia State Lady Hornets. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 pm.