Lions women's basketball looks to get back on track hosting Bearcats Wednesday

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format

Joplin, Mo. - After dropping a tough 75-67 loss at home to #13 Central Missouri on Saturday, the Missouri Southern women's basketball looks to get back on the winning track on Wednesday evening hosting the Northwest Missouri Bearcats at 5:30 p.m. at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Game Information

Teams: Missouri Southern Lions (14-6, 8-5 MIAA) vs. Northwest Missouri Bearcats (9-12, 6-8)
Date:Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014
Tip-Off: 5:30 p.m., CT
Location:Joplin, Mo.
Site: Leggett & Platt Athletic Center (3,240)
Series Record: NWMSU leads 24-23 (Home: 13-7, Away: 10-15, Neutral: 0-2)
Coaches: Ronda Hubbard (14-6 at MSSU, overall). Michael Smith (9-12 at NWMSU, 179-114 overall).

Media Coverage

MSSU Radio: KZYM-AM 1230 The Talker, Mike McClure, Play-by-Play
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Live Video:
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Lions on Twitter: @mososports

Last time out for the Lions (14-6, 8-5 MIAA): Despite a tie game with less than eight minutes to play and three Lions finishing in double figures, the Missouri Southern women's basketball team dropped a tough 75-67 contest to the 13th-ranked Central Missouri Jennies Saturday afternoon (Feb. 8) at the L&P Athletic Center.

Southern (14-6, 8-5 MIAA) was led in scoring for the third time in the last four games by senior forward Dominique Mosley, who finished with a team-high 15 points, while hitting 7-of-9 from the free throw line. Alexis Fitzpatrick and Sharese Jones added 13 and 12 points, respectively. Mosley finished with six rebounds while all eight Lions who played registered at least one assist led by Jones with four. Central Missouri took a 37-31 edge into halftime as both sides shot very evenly from the field in the first half as Southern shot 44.0% (11-25) and Central shot 46.3% (13-28).

Coming out of the locker room looking to start the second half strong, the Lions did just that hitting three of five field goals in the first four minutes of play to close the gap to one at 43-42 after a jumper from Mosley. The Jennies built their lead back to an eight-point cushion, but back-to-back three pointers from Soyez and Shawnee Phillips cut the lead back down to two with 12:09 to play.

After a layup from Mosley tied the game at 61 apiece with 7:40 to play, a pair of free throws from Twine and four more points from Flax pushed UCM lead to 67-61. Southern continued to battle as Mosley knocked down a pair of free throws to close to within three at 70-67, but that would be as close as the Lions got as the Jennies hit two layups and a free throw to win by a final of 75-67.

Last time out for the Bearcats (9-12, 6-8): The Northwest Missouri State women's basketball team operated like a well-oiled machine Saturday (Feb. 8), as the Bearcats defeated Lincoln University, 65-53, for their fourth consecutive victory.

Ashleigh Nelson knocked home a three pointer to start the game for the Bearcats as they jumped out to an 11-3 lead. Northwest never relinquished the lead and kept their foot on the gas pedal throughout the contest.

As a team, Northwest shot 47 percent from the floor while going 6-for-11 from behind the three point line. They continued to take advantage of free throws, hitting 83 percent from the line in the first half. The Bearcats slowed their scoring pace down in the second half but still hit a season high nine three pointers in the game as they came away with a 12 point victory, 65-53.

Nelson tied a career high with six three pointers as she posted a game high 20 points with four assists and two rebounds. Ariel Easton totaled 15 points with four assists while Annie Mathews finished with 10 points and led the team with nine rebounds.

The Coaches: Ronda Hubbard (14-6) 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 (179-114) 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 lead the overall series with the Lions 24-23. Southern is 13-7 at home, 9-5 in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center, but dropped their most recent matchup at home 77-72 in the first round of last year's MIAA Tournament. The Lions won their contest earlier this year 80-74 in Maryville as Sharese Jones led MSSU with 20 points.

Scouting the Bearcats: The Bearcat women enter Wednesday's game with a 9-12 overall record, 6-8 in the MIAA, having won their last four games. As a team, they rank 1st in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage defense, 2nd in 3-point field goal percentage, 4th in rebounding defense and 5th in scoring defense and free throw percentage. They are led in scoring by junior guard Ariel Easton, who ranks fourth in the conference averaging 16.4 ppg. while junior forward Annie Mathews leads the team in rebounds averaging 7.8 per game. Monique Stevens leads the conference in free throw percentage shooting 84.7% from the line.

MIAA Team Rankings: The Lions rank 1st in the MIAA in FG percentage (.466) & 3-pt. FG perct. (.340), 2nd in free-throw percentage (.746), & rebounding defense (33.3 rpg), 3rd in steals (9.0 spg), 5th in scoring margin (+7.2), assists (15.6) & scoring offense (73.8) & 7th in scoring defense (66.7).

MIAA Individual Rankings: Shonte Clay is third in the MIAA in FG percentage as she is shooting 56.5% from the field hitting 95-168. Sharese Jones is 6th at 54.5% (84-154). Dominique Mosley ranks 9th hitting 50.4% (118-234).

Samantha Soyez is 3rd in the MIAA in assists averaging 4.2 apg as she has dished 79 helpers in 19 games. Alexis Fitzpatrick is 4th averaging 3.8 apg.                    

Jones ranks 5th in the MIAA in FT percentage at 80.2% (105-131). Hartzog is 6th at 77.4% (48-62). Clay is 7th (76.6%) and Mosley is 11th (74.5%).

Fitzpartick leads the MIAA in steals averaging 2.6 swipes per game. She is 8th in the MIAA in minutes played averging 30.9 mpg. Hartzog is 2nd in steals with 2.2 spg.

Mosley ranks 5th in the MIAA in scoring averaging 15.3 ppg.  Jones is 10th at 14.2 ppg. Clay is 18th with 12.5 ppg.

Mosley is 11th in boards grabbing 7.1 rpg. Jones is 17th with 6.5 rpg.

National Rankings: The Lions rank 12th in the nation in field goal percentage shooting 46.6% from the field. They check in 42nd in free throw percentage hitting 74.6% from the line, while they are 62nd in scoring margin and 63rd in 3-point field goal percentage. Individually, Fitzpatrick ranks 41st in steals and 43rd in assist-to-turnover ratio. Mosley is 64th in the country in field goal percentage.