Tahlequah, Okla. - Overcoming a slow start offensively, the Missouri Southern women's basketball team used a late first half run to propel themselves back into the game but were unable to overcome poor second half shooting falling at Northeastern State tonight 56-48.
The Lions (11-11, 5-9 MIAA) were led by a career-high 14 points from Johnna tenBerge, who went 4-8 from three-point range. Erin Rice would chip in 11 points for the Lions, while Dominique Mosley would add nine points and a team-high nine rebounds. The Riverhawks (17-6, 12-3) were led by 17 points from Tosha Tyler, who went 8-10 from the free throw line, and Taylor Lewis who would add 13 points despite going 2-12 from three-point range.
With the Riverhawks jumping out to a 9-3 lead, Rice would nail a three-pointer from the right corner to draw the Lions back within three before NSU would reel off a 11-2 run over the next five minutes to take a twelve points lead (20-8). Nicole Hartzog would stop the bleeding striping a RiverHawk defender of the ball leading to a breakaway layup to end the run.
The Riverhawks would hit a three-pointer from the top of the arc to take their largest lead of the half at thirteen points (23-10) before the Lions would begin to find their shot and tighten their defense ripping off a 21-4 run over the next six and half minutes to take a four point lead (31-27) with 1:50 left in the half. The Lions would hit five three pointers during their run, including three from tenBerge while getting five points from Rice. The RiverHawks would score the final four points of the half to go into the locker room deadlocked at 31 apiece.
The start of the second half would find both teams struggling to find their shot as neither team was able to get on the board in the first 7:11 of the half. Rice would end the scoreboard drought hitting a free throw to give the Lions their final lead of the game at 32-31.
The Lions would keep the RiverHawks within five over the next eight minutes of play before the Lions would cut the lead within two (40-38) before the RiverHawks would hit a pair of three-pointers to open up a six point lead (46-40). Building their lead to a ten-point cushion with 1:52 to play, tenBerge would hit a three-pointer to pull the Lions within seven (52-45), but the RiverHawks would hit four free throws down the stretch to pull out the eight point win.
After shooting 12-31 in the first half, including 7-13 over their late first half run, the Lions would find the going tougher in the second half only shooting 5-22 in the second half to finish the game 17-53 (.321). The RiverHawks wouldn't fair much better as they shot 17-48 (.354) on the night, including 9-26 from three-point range. Neither team was able to fair much better from the charity stripe as the Lions went 7-17, while the RiverHawks were 13-21.
With her 11 points tonight, Rice now has 1,125 points in her Southern career, placing her 10th all-time in MSSU women's basketball history. She is now only 15 points shy of 9th place (1,140) while being 105 points shy of 8th place (1,230).
The Lions return to action Saturday evening when they return home to face the Emporia State Lady Hornets at 5:30 p.m. at Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.