Kearney, Neb. -- The Missouri Southern Women's Basketball squad (1-1) spoiled Nebraska-Kearney's (0-1) home opener 76-66 Monday night.
The Lions were led by junior Erin Rice as she scored 18 points while pulling down 11 rebounds. Junior Kelby Fritz added 12 points and six assists while freshman Haley Weathers added 11 and junior Tatianna Washington added 10 points, respectively.
As a team the Lions shot 54.5 percent for the game going 30-of-55 from the field with 24 assists. Southern recorded only five steals with Washington gathering three of those five and as a team the Lions turned the ball over 21 times while forcing only 16 Lopers' turnovers.
In a back and forth first half which saw nine ties between the two schools, Southern held their largest lead of the first half, 12-7, at the 13:19 mark on a jumper by Rice. The Lions would go into halftime with a one point lead, 35-34, on a three pointer from Weathers.
The Lopers came out in the second half scoring the first four points giving them their largest lead of the game, 38-35, at the 19:06 mark. Southern would then go on a 17-4 run over a span of 3:15 to give the Lions the lead for good at 52-42 with 14:15 to play. During that run Washington scored eight points and added an assist to Rice for a three pointer while Rice scored five and Fritz and senior Larrita Gipson added two points. Southern would then stretch their lead to 17 twice on jumpers by Fritz and Weathers before surviving a late attack by UNK.
The Lopers were led by Debi Johnson who scored a game high 21 points and as a team UNK shot 40.7 percent (24-of-59) from the field.
Southern will be back in action Wednesday night as they host NAIA's Avila University at 7pm inside The Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.