Women's basketball to battle Missouri Western on Saturday night

Joplin, Mo. - After a nine-point win over Northwest Missouri State at home on Thursday night, the Missouri Southern State women's basketball team returns to action Saturday night when they take on the Missouri Western State University Griffons at 5:30 p.m. in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

The Coaches: Maryann Mitts is the winningest coach in Missouri Southern history. Under Mitts' guidance, the Lions have averaged 17 wins during her 11 years at the helm and have finished in the upper echelon of the highly competitive Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association seven of those 11 years.  In 16 years as a collegiate head coach, Mitts has amassed an impressive 13 winning seasons.  Notable, the Lions have also narrowly missed the NCAA post-season tournament in six of those 11 years. Overall, Mitts has compiled a 182-135 (.574) record in 12 years with the Lions. She holds a 265-191 (.581) mark in 17 years as a collegiate head coach. Mitts currently ranks amongst the Top 50 of all Division II active coaches in all-time victories.

Rob Edmisson is in his first season as the head coach of Missouri Western.  He comes to MWSU from Oklahoma City University where he led the Stars to five Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season championships, five conference tournament titles and seven NAIA Division I tournaments in seven seasons with the Stars. During his time at OCU, Edmisson has coached 10 All-Americans, including two-time All-Americans Donica Cosby, Alexandra Kotta, Holly Hardin and Chelsea Ledbetter. The 2008, 2010 and 2012 SAC coach of the year, Edmisson has guided 38 all-conference players, including four newcomer of the year award winners, two defensive players of the year, the sportsmanship award winner and three SAC player of the year honorees.

The Lions last time out (7-3, 1-1 MIAA): The Missouri Southern Lions women's basketball team defeated the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats 64-55 Thursday night at the Legett & Platt Athletic Center. Behind a career-high 13 points from guard Tee Singleton, and three other Lions (7-3, 1-1 MIAA) in double figures, Southern overcame a three-point halftime defecit to secure its first MIAA conference victory of the year. Senior forward Erin Rice and junior guards Shatara Stone and Jolee Sharp each finished with 10 points on the night.

With the Bearcats up by three after halftime and unwilling to relinquish the lead through the first nine minutes of the second half, the Lions were able to overtake the lead once and for all on a layup by Clay at the 9:58 mark that gave the Lions a 45-42 lead. Finishing the game on a 19-13 run that included seven free throws from Stone and a timely three-pointer from sophomore guard Nicole Hartzog, the Lions were able to take advantage of their size to outrebound the Bearcats 44-23. Despite a season-high 26 turnovers, the Lions were able to force 16 turnovers on the Bearcats that they turned into 19 points.

The Griffons last time out (9-2, 2-1 MIAA): The Missouri Western women's basketball team hit 18-of-20 second half free throws opening up the new year with a 78-76 road victory over MIAA newcomer Central Oklahoma. Heather Howard collected her seventh double double dumping in a season high 24 points and tying her season high with 13 rebounds. The Griffons improve to 9-2 overall and 2-1 MIAA play. With the game tied at 33 at halftime, the second half was a back and forth battle with six ties and six lead changes. The Griffons opened the half scoring seven of the first ten points giving the Griffons a 40-36 lead after an Alicia Bell layup with 18:10 to play. The Griffons and UCO continued to play close and with 6:10 to play in the game newcomer Denise White put the Griffons up 63-58 after a free throw. UCO remained calm cutting the Griffon lead to one after a Savannah Hamilton free throw with 3:55 to play. Sharniece Lewis pushed the Griffon lead to five once again with 2:31 to play after a long range shot giving the Griffons the 73-68 lead. UCO cut the lead to two five made free throws, four by Lawrence sealed the victory for the visiting Griffons.

The Series between the two schools: The Griffons lead the overall series with Southern 51-28, but the Lions hold a 20-18 advantage at home. The Lions swept the season series over the Griffons last year defeating Western at home 83-73 on February 4 and 66-62 in St. Joseph on December 7, 2011.