Joplin, Mo. - After winning a pair of games this past weekend at home at the Pizza Hut/ Fairfield Inn Thanksgiving Classic, the Missouri Southern women's basketball team hits the road as they travel to Northwestern Oklahoma State to take on the Rangers at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Percefull Fieldhouse in Alva, Oklahoma.
Last time out for the Lions (3-1): Behind a career-high 26 points from senior center Shonte Clay, the Missouri Southern women's basketball team routed the Evangel (Mo.) Crusaders 84-61 this afternoon in the final game of the Pizza Hut/ Fairfield Inn Thanksgiving Classic at Leggett & Platt Athletic Center Saturday afternoon (Nov.23).
Going 13-for-17 from the field, Clay also grabbed six rebounds on the afternoon. Junior guard Nicole Hartzog paced the backcourt for the Lions (3-1) with 19 points going a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Sophomore guard Sharese Jones added 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Senior guard Samantha Soyez added a career-high 11 assists on the afternoon while scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds.
After the early going of the game saw action locked up at eight apiece, a three-pointer from junior guard Alexis Fitzpatrick gave the Lions a three-point lead, but the Crusaders responded with a 6-0 run to take their largest lead of the game at 14-11. The Lions responded with a 19-9 run over the next eight minutes getting six points from Clay to take a 30-23 lead with just over six minutes to play in the first half. Southern continued their hot play down the stretch of the first half ending the final six minutes on a 17-6 run to open up a 47-29 halftime lead. The final run saw scoring from five different Lions, including getting ten points from Clay.
Southern picked up where it left off in the first five minutes of the second half outscoring the Crusaders 14-6 to expand their lead to 25 (61-35) going 6-of-11 from the field. After a layup from Clay with 4:40 to play gave Southern their largest lead of the afternoon at 32 (82-50), Evangel finished the game on an 11-2 run to close the game. The Lions shot 50% (34-68) from the field on the afternoon, while going 6-for-18 (.333) from three-point range and 10-for-14 (.714) from the free-throw line. The Lions nearly doubled up the Crusaders on rebounds grabbing 43, including 20 offensive, to only 22 for Evangel. The Lions recorded 23 assists while turning the ball over a season-low 11 times. Finally, Southern was strong in the paint as they outscored Evangel 54-28.
Last time out for the Rangers (0-6, 0-2 GAC): Northwestern Oklahoma State's highest offensive output of the young season wasn't quite enough in an 82-80 overtime loss at Arkansas-Monticello on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 23). Northwestern (0-6, 0-2 Great American Conference) topped 80 points for the first time since Feb. 18, 2012 and shot 48 percent from the field, but the Rangers also turned it over 22 times.
UAM (3-2, 1-1) did much of its damage at the charity stripe, hitting 31-of-37 free throws. It also got a strong tag-team effort from Jordan Goforth (31 points) and Tamia Grady (25). In overtime, Emily Eaton scored the last of her 14 points on a pair of clutch free throws, tying the game at 80 with 14 seconds to play. Grady finished playing hero for UAM, driving inside for the game-winner with just three seconds to go.
For the second-straight game Ranger freshman Kamera Bozeman posted a career-high, this time scoring 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Northwestern also found a new weapon in freshman Kaci Hansen, whose 34 minutes of action equaled the 34 she had seen in the first five games combined. Hansen finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds – both career-highs.
The Coaches: Ronda Hubbard (3-1) is in her 13th year on the staff at Missouri Southern and was promoted to the position of Interim Head Coach on July 2, 2013 after the retirement of Maryann Mitts. During her 12 years with the Lions, she has helped the team to a 189-145 record, including winning marks and a trip to the MIAA post season tournament in all by one of those 12 seasons. In 2000-01, Hubbard helped the University of Texas-Pan American post its most wins in a season since becoming an NCAA Division I institution in 1985, and the second most victories in school history. Prior to her stint at Texas-Pan American, she served on current Lions head coach Maryann Mitts' staff as an assistant at Rockhurst University from 1996-2000. There, she helped the Lady Hawks post a 68-45 record and advance to the 1997-98 Sweet 16.
Eric Bozeman (6-26) is in second year at the helm of the Northwestern Oklahoma State women's basketball team. The man charged with leading the Northwestern Oklahoma State women during their transition to NCAA Division II is a man who's undergone a career transition of his own. After 12 seasons as a Division II men's basketball head coach and seven more as a Division I men's assistant, Eric Bozeman is in his 2nd year at the helm of the Rangers program. His first full recruiting class will take the floor in 2013-14 - a young but talented group with size and scoring versatility. Bozeman is no stranger to building programs. He served as head men's coach at Henderson State from 1993-98. During his time there, he fashioned the Reddies into consistent winners, topping 20 wins in each of his last two years there.
Series between the two schools: This is the first meeting between the two schools.
All-Tournament Honors: Dominique Mosley, Shonte Clay and Sharese Jones were named to the Pizza Hut/ Fairfield Inn Thanksgiving Classic All-Tourney Team after combining to average 50.0 ppg abd 22.5 rpg between the three of them in two games over the weekend.
MIAA Team Rankings: The Lions rank 3rd in the MIAA in FG percentage (45.8%) and assists (18.5 apg), 4th in the MIAA in scoring offense (76.5 ppg), free-throw percentage (77.3%) and blocks (3.8 bpg), and 5th in rebounding offense (41.8 rpg).
MIAA Individual Rankings: Jones leads the MIAA in rebounding grabbing a league-high 11.5 rpg. Mosley ranks 6th averaging 8.5 boards per game. Clay leads the MIAA in field goal percentage as she is shooting 72.7% from the field hitting 24-33 on the year. Samantha Soyez leads the MIAA in assists averaging 6.5 apg as she set a new career-high with 11 in the win over Evangel.