Southern women's basketball continues road trip at Fort Hays State Saturday

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Joplin, Mo. - After hanging tough with the No. 9-ranked Washburn Lady Blues on Thursday night, the Missouri Southern Lions women's basketball team looks to get back on the winning track tomorrow afternoon wrapping up their two game road trip to Kansas at Fort Hays State on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

The Lions last time out (10-8, 4-6 MIAA): The Missouri Southern Lions women's basketball team hung tough with the #9-ranked Washburn Lady Blues Thursday night before falling 53-42 at Lee Arena.  

The Lions (10-8, 4-6 MIAA) were led offensively by Kansas native Jolee Sharp who finished with a team-high 12 points, while Dominique Mosley chipped in 10 points and five rebounds.  The Lady Blues (14-3, 8-1) were led by Tiara George who finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.

With the Lions up a point at the halftime break, Sharp would hit a pair of free throws a little more than a minute out of the locker room to take a three point lead, but the Lady Blues would respond with a 10-0 run before a Mosley layup would end the drought almost five minutes later to close the gap to within five (36-31).

The Lions would continue their cold shooting in the second half as they would go more than seven minutes without a field goal as the Lady Blues went on a 9-2 run over the next six minutes to take a 45-33 lead before a Soyez layup would close the gap to ten with 6:50 to play in the game. The Lady Blues would respond with two quick baskets to take a 14-point lead before a Shonte Clay layup and Sharp free throw cut the lead to 11 (49-38) with 4:07 to play. Unfortunately that would be as close as the Lions would get falling by a final score of 53-42.

The Tigers last time out (13-5, 5-5 MIAA): Following a tough defensive double-overtime battle in Kirksville, Mo. this past Saturday (Jan.26), the Fort Hays State women survived against a hot shooting Central Oklahoma team at home on Wednesday (Jan. 30) at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays by a score of 84-78.

Katelyn Edwards broke a 78-78 tie with a pair of free-throws with 14 seconds left and a defensive stop led to a pair of free-throws by Beth Bohuslavsky to put the game away with five seconds remaining. FHSU improved to 13-5 overall and 5-5 in the MIAA with the win.

The Coaches: Maryann Mitts is the winningest coach in Missouri Southern history. Under Mitts' guidance, the Lions have averaged 17 wins during her 11 years at the helm and have finished in the upper echelon of the highly competitive Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association seven of those 11 years.  In 16 years as a collegiate head coach, Mitts has amassed an impressive 13 winning seasons.  Notable, the Lions have also narrowly missed the NCAA post-season tournament in six of those 11 years. Overall, Mitts has compiled a 185-140 (.569) record in 12 years with the Lions. She holds a 268-196 (.578) mark in 17 years as a collegiate head coach. Mitts currently ranks amongst the Top 50 of all Division II active coaches in all-time victories.

Tony Hobson is in his fifth season as head coach of the Fort Hays State women's basketball program. FHSU enjoyed its best season yet under Hobson in 2011-12, going 20-9 overall with a fifth-place finish in the MIAA and the third MIAA Tournament appearance under Hobson. It was the first time FHSU won 20 games in a season since 2005-06. Hobson recorded his 450th career victory and 250th victory at a four-year school in 2011.

The Series between the two schools: Fort Hays State leads the overall series with Southern 22-16 with the Tigers taking both matchups a season ago. FHSU won 80-63 in Hays, Kan. om Jan. 9, 2012, while taking the meeting in Joplin 67-58 on Feb. 18, 2012. Junior guard Shatara Stone had a career-high 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in the loss in Joplin a year ago, while senior forward Erin Rice averaged 10.5 points and four rebounds in the two meetings a year ago. The Lions are 4-15 all-time in Hays having last won there on February 19, 2011 by a score of 62-53. Rice finished that game with 13 points and five rebounds.