ST. CHARLES , Mo. - Thanks to a season-high 21 points from senior forward Erin Rice and key free throw shooting down the stretch, the Missouri Southern women's basketball team defeated MIAA newcomer Lindenwood 78-74 tonight at Hyland Arena.
The win gives the Lions' their ninth win of the season surpassing last season's total of eight. Their third conference win of the season, tonight's victory over the Lady Lions gives Southern their first true road win of the season.
In addition to Rice's 21 points, four other Lions finished in double figures as Shonte Clay finished with 12 points to go along with a team-high seven rebounds, while a trio of Lions finshed with 10 points. Shatara Stone, Tee Singleton and St. Charles native Sharese Jones each finished with ten points apiece.
The Lady Lions (3-9, 0-4 MIAA) were led on the evening by Sarah Schnieders who finished with 21 points, while Caroline Bourlioux finished with 18 points to go along with a team-high six rebounds.
With the Lions (9-3, 3-1 MIAA) getting off to a slow start to the game and Lindenwood jumping out to a 4-0 lead, the Lions fought back to tie the game up at six thanks to four points from Clay and a layup from Rice. The Lady Lions would respond with a 11-5 run over the next nine and half minutes to extend their largest lead of the game at 22-15. The Lions would tighten their defense and four more Lions would find the back of the net to spark a 12-4 run over the next 2:14 to take only their second lead of the half at 27-26 with 5:07 remaining in the half. The teams would trade the lead six more times the rest of the half as the Lions went into the locker room up a point at 37-36.
Coming out of the locker room at halftime on fire, the Lions would jump out to a eight point lead thanks to a 7-0 run out the break that saw Jones, Singleton and Rice get in on the action. Lindenwood refused to go away though as they continued to hang around all half cutting the lead to four on four different occasions before the Lions caught fire again to extend their lead to the largest of the game at nine (61-52), before the Lady Lions made one last charge.
With the Lions nursing a eight-point lead with 5:44 remaining, Lindenwood would reel off a 11-1 run over the next 2:49 to take their only lead of the second half at 69-67. The Lions would respond thanks to Rice, who proceeded to hit a layup and the go-ahead jumper to give the Lions a two-point lead.
A pair of free throws from Rice and Singleton gave the Lions a four-point lead with :51 seconds remaining, but the Lady Lions would knock down one-of-two from the line to cut the lead back to three before Jones, in front a large hometown crowd, went to the line to sink a pair of free throws to give the Lions a five-point cushion. Lindenwood would make a layup, before a Stone free throw sealed the four-point win for the Lions.
Despite collecting a season-low 28 rebounds, the Lions were able to get to the free throw line a season-high 32 times connecting on 24. The Lions shoot 24-of-45 (.533) from the field on the night, while Lindenwood also had a nice night shooting 28-of-55 (.509) from the field, while hitting 14-of-26 (.538) from the free throw line.
Southern returns to action Saturday afternoon when they travel to Jefferson City to take on the Lincoln Blue Tigers at 1:30 p.m. from Jason Gym.