Joplin, Mo. - After winning a pair of games at home last week, the Missouri Southern women's basketball team looks to win their fourth straight game on Wednesday traveling to Northwest Missouri to face the Bearcats at 5:30 p.m. at Bearcat Arena.
Teams: RV) Missouri Southern (12-3, 6-2 MIAA) vs. Northwest Missouri (5-11, 2-7)
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014
Tip-Off: 5:30 p.m., CT
Location: Maryville, Mo.
Site: Bearcat Arena (2,500)
Series Record: NWMSU leads 24-22 (Home: 13-7, Away: 9-15, Neutral: 0-2)
Coaches: Ronda Hubbard (12-3 at MSSU, overall). Michael Smith (5-11 at NWMSU, 175-113 overall).
MSSU Radio: KZYM-AM 1230 The Talker, Mike McClure, Play-by-Play
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Last time out for the Lions (12-3, 6-2): Behind a career-high 26 points from Nicole Hartzog, the Missouri Southern women's basketball team shot a season-best 64.8% from the field in a 86-62 romp this afternoon at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center over the visiting Lincoln Blue Tigers.
Finishing 12-of-15 from the field, the junior guard from Beaverton, Ore., also recorded a career-best seven steals. The Lions' (12-3, 6-2 MIAA) also had two other players finish with double figures as Sharese Jones finished with 18 points and seven rebounds shooting a perfect 7-of-7 from the field. Shonte Clay chipped in 16 points, her third consecutive game in double figures, and grabbed seven boards. In her seventh game back from injury, senior guard Tee Singleton scored a season-high nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field.
After shooting a season-best 69.2% in the first half hitting 18-of-26 shooting from the field and taking a 12-point lead into halftime, Southern continued their stellar afternoon looking to get separation from the Blue Tigers in the second half as they opened up a 20-point lead after the first eight minutes at 67-47. The Lions continued to keep the pressure on Lincoln as they held at least a 16-point lead the remainder of the game winning by a final of 86-62. Southern matched their great shooting in the first half in the final twenty minutes as they went 17-of-28 (60.7%) from the field. Continuing a growing trend this season, Southern improved to 11-2 on the year when they outrebound their opponent as they held a 31-24 edge in boards and improve to 11-0 when they have more assists as they held a 16-5 advantage in that department as well. Finally, Southern held a distinct advantage in points in the paint outscoring the Blue Tigers 52-24.
Last time out for the Bearcats (5-11, 2-7): The Northwest Missouri State women's basketball team fell short in their upset bid over No. 8 Central Missouri Saturday as they fell 67-62.
The Bearcats came out on fire in the first half jumping out to a 14-9 lead in the first five minutes. UCM went on top with 12 minutes to play and went into halftime holding a slim three point lead, 38-35. Ariel Easton led all scorers in the first half with 12 points as she went 4 for 5 from behind the three point line. Northwest as team shot 58% from three point land as they went 7 for 12. The UCM defense held the Bearcats to only two points in the first nine minutes of the second half, but Northwest refused to go away and tied it up 47-47 with 7:30 left to play.
It was a back and forth battle in the final minutes of the contest, as the Bearcats took a 54-52 lead with five minutes to play. A lead changed with 3:02 on the clock put UCM back up by two. Ashleigh Nelson was able to get her team back to within one as she knocked home two foul shots with 1:27 remaining. That was as close as Northwest would get as UCM pulled away in the final minute to claim the 67-62 victory.
The Coaches: Ronda Hubbard (12-3) 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 but 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.
Michael Smith (175-113) was named the seventh head women's basketball coach at Northwest Missouri State University in the summer of 2013. Prior to arriving in Maryville, Smith spent five years at former MIAA rival Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. During his tenure at Truman State, the Bulldogs increased their win total each season and advanced to the MIAA Tournament the last three seasons. He helped lead the Bulldogs from the bottom of the conference with an 8-19 record in his first season to a 20-6 record in 2012-13, which included 11 weeks ranked in the WBCA Top 25 Poll.
The series between the two schools: The Bearcats narrowly lead the overall series with Southern 24-22. The Lions are 13-7 at home, but only 9-15 on the road, and 0-2 at a neutral site. Northwest won the most recent match-up between the two teams in the first round of the MIAA Tournament last year as the Bearcats won 77-72 at L&P. The Lions won the only game in the regular season last year 64-55 at L&P on Jan. 3, 2013.
Scouting Northwest Missouri: Narrowly missing out on defeating #8 Central Missouri at home on Saturday, the Bearcats come into Wednesday's game ranking 11th in the MIAA in scoring offense averaging 64.8 ppg, 9th in field goal percentage (.420), 3rd in three-point field goal percentage (.331), 6th in free-throw percentage (.719). The Bearcats are led in scoring by junior guard Ariel Easton who ranks 4th in the MIAA in points per game at 16.3 and shooting 41.2% from the field. Annie Mathews leads the team in rebounds with 7.9 boards per game.
Lions receiving votes in the WBCA Women's Poll: For the third consecutive week, Southern received votes in the USA Today WBCA Women's basketball poll garnering 17 votes. Along with top ten ranked Emporia State and Central Missouri, Fort Hays State is in the rankings for the second straight week at #24, while Pittsburg State also received votes with two votes.
Lions are undefeated when: Southern is undefeated on the year when they have more assists (11-0), have fewer turnovers (9-0), score 80+ points (7-0) and make more free throws (6-0).
MIAA Team Rankings: The Lions rank 1st in the MIAA in free-throw percentage (.761) & field goal percentage (.466), 2nd in rebounding defense (33.1 rpg), 3rd in steals (9.7 spg), 4th in scoring margin (+9.7), blocks (3.5), & assists (16.3), 5th in scoring defense (65.4), and 6th in scoring offense (75.1 ppg), 3-point percentage (.329) & 3-point percentage defense (.294).
MIAA Individual Rankings: Shonte Clay sits atop the MIAA in FG percentage as she is shooting 59.7% from the field hitting 77-129. Sharese Jones is 7th at 55.3% (63-114). Dominique Mosley ranks 11th hitting 51.1% (94-184).
Jones ranks 2nd in the MIAA in FT percentage at 81.2% (82-101). Nicole Hartzog is 5th at 78.9% (45-57).
Fitzpartick leads the MIAA in steals averaging 2.9 swipes per game. She is 5th in the MIAA in assist/turnover ratio at 2.2. Hartzog is second in steals with 2.3 spg.
Mosley ranks 6th in the MIAA in scoring averaging 15.5 ppg. Jones is 9th at 14.5 ppg. Clay is 16th with 12.8 ppg. Hartzog is 24th w/ 11.1 ppg.
Mosley is 10th in rebounds grabbing 7.5 rpg. Jones is 11th w/ 7.3 rpg.
National Rankings: The Lions rank 10th in the country in field goal percentage shooting 46.6% from the field and 25th in the country in free-throw percentage shooting 76.1% from the charity stripe on the year. Fitzpatrick ranks 12th in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2) while ranking 26th in steals (2.9). Clay ranks 14th in the country in FG percentage (59.7%). Soyez ranks 39th in assists at 4.7 assists per game.