JOPLIN - Shooting a season-high 62.2% from the field, the Missouri Southern Lions women's basketball team held off a late rally from Southwest Baptist to defeat the Bearcats 69-63 tonight at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. The win was the Lions first since January 12 when they defeated Lincoln in Jefferson City 67-55, snapping a six-game losing skid.
Led by 16 points from freshman guard Sharese Jones and 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds from guard Tee Singleton, eight Lions (11-9, 5-7 MIAA) had at least one field goal on the evening. Dominique Mosley and Erin Rice would both narrowly miss double-figures as each finished with nine points each. The Bearcats (9-11, 4-8) were led by 19 points from Chasity Prince and 18 points from Brittany Dukes.
The Lions would jump out to a 16-6 lead in the first six and half minutes of play as six Lions would record a field goal. The Bearcats would respond with a 14-4 run of their own to tie the game at 20 apiece with a little more than eight minutes to play in the first half.
The Lions would counter the Bearcats run with a quick 7-0 run of their thanks to layups from Singleton and Nicole Hartzog and a three-pointer from Rice to give the Lions a 27-20 lead. The two squads would play the final six and half minutes of the half even as a Jones' layup with a second remaining in the half gave the Lions a 37-27 lead going into halftime. The Lions would shoot 64% from the field in the first half connecting on 16-of-25 from the field.
The Lions hot shooting would continue in the second half as they would race out to their largest lead of the game at 14 (50-36) thanks to a three-pointer from Jones eight minutes into the half before the Bearcats would refuse to go away slowing chipping away at the Lions lead all half.
The Bearcats would get as close as four (57-53) thanks to a pair of free throws from Prince with four minutes left, but the Lions would respond with five straight points from Rice and a layup and free throw from Singleton over the next three minutes to take a eight-point lead (65-57) with fifty seconds left as the Lions would hold on for a six-point lead.
The Lions shoot 28-of-45 from the field on the night, while the Bearcats went 23-of-67 (.343). The Lions took advantage of their size advantage outscoring the Bearcats in the paint 40-22, while the Lions bench continued to give Southern a spark outscoring SBU's bench 34-5.
The Lions return to action at home Saturday evening when they host the 10th ranked Central Missouri Jennies at 5:30 p.m. at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.