Apon's record night not enough in 77-67 first-round loss to Central Missouri

Kansas City, Mo. – Despite an MIAA Tournament record eight threes and a game-high 28 points from Senior Jolea Apon, the Missouri Southern Lions fell 77-67 to the Central Missouri Jennies in the MIAA Tournament Quarterfinals Thursday night (Mar. 4) at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.

Apon’s eight threes gave her 96 for her career, which is good for second place all-time for a single-season at MSSU.
Just last season, MSSU senior Danielle DeVader had tied the previous tournament record by nailing seven threes in a 62-57 win over the Jennies in the Tournament Quarterfinals.

Both teams started out on fire from the field and at the first media timeout, the Lions were hitting 71 percent of their shots from the field and the Jennies were shooting at a 67 percent clip. Both teams had made every shot from beyond the arc and at the charity stripe as the Lions led 14-11 at the 15:42 mark.

A pair of threes from Apon and great inside play from Erin Rice as the freshman made each of her first three shots helped the Lions to the early lead. Southern also did it on the defensive end with two early steals and a block.

A three from Apon from 27 feet out gave the Lions a 23-21 lead with just under eight minutes left. As hot as both teams started, by the final media timeout of the half, both had cooled off with the Jennies shooting just 38 percent and Southern 39 percent.

A pair of free throws from Central’s Kara Fleming gave the Jennies a 28-26 lead, but a put-back from Lindsey Rujawitz cut the lead back to 29-27. It was the first field goal for the Lions in nearly four minutes. Central took advantage of its chances at the free-throw line, making 5-7 in a two minute span to take a 32-29 lead late in the half and a layup from Lovejoy made the score 34-31, Central at the half.

Central opened up an 11 point lead after the first media timeout of the half as layups from Danielle Shows and Renae Shippy, and a three from Fleming gave the Jennies their first double-digit lead of the game.

The lead was 12 at the final media timeout as the Jennies (18-10) had increased their shooting percentage to nearly 50 percent from the field and 47 percent from long range.

Playing in her final game, Apon was 8-of-15 from three-point range and 9-of-18 overall. Michelle Hedgecock scored 11, while Jasmine Lovejoy added 10 and a team-high eight rebounds. Senior Randi Henderson dished out a game-high six assists in her final outing at Southern.

Fleming led four Jennies in double-figures with 26 points, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.
The Lions (15-13) dominated play on the glass, with a 42-24 advantage overall in rebounds and a 13-4 edge on the offensive glass.