JOPLIN, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern Women (7-14, 3-12 MIAA) won their fifth straight against the Missouri Western Griffons (6-14, 4-11 MIAA) on Saturday night at The Leggett & Platt Athletic Center, 83-73.
Western got off to a fast start in the first eight minutes shooting 67 percent from the field and finished the half at 50 percent (15-of-30) from the field. The Griffons went up by 10 three times in the half, once on a three by Jessica Koch at the 15:21 mark, then again on a three by Ashleigh Curry at the 11:33 mark, and on a pair of free throws by Koch at the 9:58 mark.
Southern would then go on a 17-4 run over the next four minutes, highlighted by threes from junior Erin Rice, sophomore Shatara Stone, and junior Kelby Fritz. Rice capped the run off with two free throws at the 4:29 mark to give the Lions a three point lead.
Western answered with a 10-0 run again before Southern senior Larrita Gipson would score the final five points of the half to cut the Griffons lead to two, 42-40 at the half.
For the half the Lions shot 48.4 percent (15-of-31) from the field including 5-of-15 from downtown. Gipson led the way in scoring for Southern with 11 points, while Rice and senior Michelle Hedgecock pulled down four rebounds each.
Coming out of the locker room the two teams would trade baskets until a jumper by Rice and then a three pointer from Fritz would open a five point Lions lead, 49-44, at the the 17:03 mark. Western would battle back and take the lead for the final time a the 13:20 mark, 55-54, and expand that lead to three just seconds later, 57-54, before the Lions would go to work on the offensive end. A layup by junior Dysyan Malone at the 8:59 mark would spark a 11-4 run and a three point play by Malone would push the Lions lead up to 10, 76-66, with 2:41 to play.
Southern was led by Fritz with 20 points, Gipson with 17, Rice with 16, and Malone with 14. Gipson and Malone both had career highs on the night and Fritz set a career mark with five three point field goals. Rice led the way in rebounding for the Lioins with eight as Southern out rebounded the Griffons 41-36.
Missouri Western was led by Koch with 25 (17 first half points), Ashleigh Curry with 16 (12 first half points), and Alicia Bell with 14. Bell was their leading rebounder with 10 boards (six offensive).
The Lions are back in action on Wednesday night as they host the Pittsburg State Gorillas in a Sonic Series Trophy match at The Leggett & Platt Athletic Center at 5:30 pm.