JOPLIN - Despite a valiant comeback that saw the Missouri Southern Lions women's basketball team come out of the locker room at halftime on a 16-0 run, Southern was unable to overcome a large first half deficit falling short at home tonight to Emporia State 62-55.
Led by a season-high 28 points from senior forward Erin Rice on 11-15 shooting from the field, the Lions (11-12, 5-10 MIAA) got scoring from nine of their ten participating players, but were unable to find much success from the field only shooting a collective 10-32 while only scoring 27 points. The Lady Hornets (16-6, 11-3) were led by 18 points on 7-10 shooting from Merissa Quick, while Rachel Hanf chipped in 13.
The Lions would start the game with a Shonte Clay layup, but the Lady Hornets would quickly answer with seven unanswered points before Rice would hit a jumper from the right corner to end the run making the game 7-4 after the first six minutes. The Lady Hornets would open the game up over the next four minutes going on 16-6 run to open up a thirteen point lead (23-10) before the Lions would hit back-to-back layups from Johnna tenBerge and Tee Singleton and get a free throw from Sharese Jones to cut the lead to eight. The Lady Hornets would again respond with a 16-4 run, including a pair of three-pointers by Hanf, over the final nine minutes to go into the locker room up by twenty (39-19).
Coming out of the locker room at halftime on a 16-0 run to close the margin to four (39-35), the Lions would hold the Lady Hornets scoreless over the first seven and half minutes of the second half to get back into the contest. The run would feature six points from Rice, while getting contributions from three other Lions, including five from Samantha Soyez.
The Lady Hornets would respond with three quick layups to get re-gain a ten point lead (45-35) which they would hold until the 3:18 mark of the second half when the Lions would go on a 7-2 run to close the gap within five (58-53), but that would be as close as they would get as the Lady Hornets would respond with four points to take home the seven-point win.
The Lions would commit a season-high 32 turnovers leading to 36 points for Emporia State. Despite outscoring the Lady Hornet's bench 33-9, the absence of leading scorer Dominique Mosley, who was attending a funeral, was felt in the inside as Emporia outpaced the Lions 36-30.
The Lions return to action Thursday night in their final home game of the year hosting Central Oklahoma at 5:30 p.m. for Senior Night at Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. The lone senior on this year's squad, Rice became Missouri Southern women's basketball 9th all-time leading scorer tonight passing Becky Fly.