JOPLIN, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern Lions (6-12, 2-10 MIAA) had a chance to extend their one point lead over the visiting Jennies of Central Missouri (14-4, 8-4 MIAA), but junior forward Erin Rice's three pointer hit the front of the iron and the Jennies converted the defensive board to go ahead by one and close out the game at the charity stripe for the 73-66 win Wednesday night.
The Jennies got out of the gate quickly as they went up 9-2 in the first three minutes before Rice would go on a 4-0 run of her own to close the gap to three. Central Missouri would then push the lead to 11 three times during the remaining of the half on 73.9 percent (17-of-23) shooting.
Southern shot 52 percent (13-of-25) from the field, including going 6-for-11 from downtown.
The second stanza saw Central push the lead out to 15, 50-35, with 16:23 to play before the Lions would start chipping away at the lead; eventually getting the Jennies lead down to one on a three pointer by Rice and taking their only lead on a pair of free throws by junior Dysyan Malone at the 4:28 mark. Southern then had the chance to take over the momentum of the game but Rice's three pointer sailed off the back of the iron and Central Missouri's Kiersten Orton went coast-to-coast and connected on the lay-up to give the Jennies a one point lead with 3:37 to go.
Central would not make another shot from the field as they would go 9-of-10 from the charity stripe to close out the win.
The Lions were led by Rice with 18 points, junior Tatianna Washington with 16, junior Kelby Fritz with 13, and freshman Haley Weather with 11. Sophomore Shatara Stone led the way in rebounding for the Lions with six and Washington added five.
The Jennies were led by Nicole Caddell with 21 points, Renae Shippy with 14, and Taylor Hanson with 11. Shippy and Alyssa Rhodes led the way in rebounding for Central Missouri with six boards each.
The Lions will be back in action Saturday evening as they travel to Bolivar, Missouri to take on the Southwest Baptist Bearcats, tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 pm.