Joplin, Mo. – The Missouri Southern Lions Women's Basketball team's (7-17, 3-15 MIAA) comeback bid came up just short as the number 15-ranked Washburn Lady Blues (22-4, 15-2 MIAA) escaped with a 75-69 win in Joplin on Wednesday evening.
The Lions led Washburn by as many as 12 points in the first half, 14-2, at the 15:15 mark of play before the Lady Blues would go on a 15-2 run to take the lead at 17-16 just over midway through the first stanza. A layup by junior Erin Rice followed by a three pointer by freshman Haley Weathers would give Southern their final lead at 21-17 with just over eight minutes remaining in the half. Washburn would outscore the Lions 26-10 over the final eight minutes to take a 12 point lead, 43-31, into the locker room.
For the half Southern shot 35.5 percent (11-of-31) from the field and Rice led the way for the Green & Gold with 10 points and four rebounds and sophomore Shatara Stone finished the half with six points.
Coming out of the locker room Coach Maryann Mitts had her team fired up as the Lions went on a 9-0 run to cut the Washburn lead down to three, 43-40, at the 16:50 mark.
Washburn would answer pushing their lead to nine twice in the next three minutes before Southern would use a 7-0 run to cut the lead down to two, 59-57, at the 8:57, a three pointer and layup by Rice and a pair of free throws by junior Kelby Fritz accounted for the scoring.
The Lions and Washburn would then trade baskets back and forth before Southern would tie the game at 69-69 on a three pointer by Rice with just over three minutes to play. The Lions would be shut out for the final three minutes as Washburn would connect on two three pointers by Stevi Schultz to provide the final score, 75-69.
Rice led the way in scoring for Southern with 24 and Fritz added 19 points, going a perfect 5-for-5 from the charity stripe. Rice and junior Nyzera Fleming grabbed seven boards each to lead the team in that category.
Washburn was led by Ebonie Williams with 20, Stevi Schultz with 17, and Dana Elliott with 15 points. Schultz was also the team leader in rebounds with seven.
The Lions will be back in action on Saturday as they host the Fort Hays State University Tigers at 1pm.