Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern Lions (7-15, 3-13 MIAA) got off to a great start but could not hold on as the 10th ranked Pittsburg State Gorillas (21-2, 15-1 MIAA) pulled off an 88-74 road victory in the Sonic Trophy Series game Wednesday night.
Southern would lead by as many as eight in the first half, 23-15, on a jumper by junior Kelby Fritz with 10:01 to play in the stanza. But Pittsburg State would answer going on a 16-2 run to take a seven point lead, 32-25, with 5:26 left in the half. The Lions would trim that lead down to three twice on a layup by senior Larrita Gipson and later a three by Gipson before PSU's Lauren Brown would score the final three points of the half to give the Gorillas a 38-32 halftime lead.
Coming out of the locker room Pittsburg State outscored the Lions 10-6 including a three point play by Brooke Conley to extend their lead to 10, 48-38, with 17:27 to play. From there it would be all Gorillas as they would push their lead up to as many as 18 points two times in the final five minutes of action.
Gipson set a career high with 23 points and junior Erin Rice added her third double-double of the season, 13 points and 11 rebounds, to pace the Lions. Fritz added 11 points for the Lions as freshman Haley Weathers and junior Dysyan Malone adding eight a piece.
The 2011-12 Sonic Trophy Series point in women's basketball goes to Pittsburg State this season. The Lions had won the previous two points.
Southern will be back in action Saturday evening as they travel to Emporia, Kansas to take on the 22nd ranked Emporia State Lady Hornets at 5:30 pm.