Women's basketball returns home to face Southwest Baptist Thursday

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Joplin, Mo. - After a tough road trip to Kansas last weekend, the Missouri Southern Lions women's basketball team returns to action on Thursday night when they host the Southwest Baptist Bearcats at 5:30 p.m. at Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. After falling just short at Fort Hays State and No. 9-ranked Washburn, the Lions will look to snap their six game losing skid and get back on the winning track against the Bearcats.

The Lions last time out (10-9, 4-7 MIAA): Despite a late rally from Missouri Southern, the Lions women's basketball team was unable to overcome a ten-point second-half defecit to Fort Hays State falling 62-55 to the Tigers Saturday afternoon at Gross Memorial Coliseum. 

With the Lions trailing by four at halftime, Southern would continue to fight in the second half as Fort Hays State would build a ten-point lead at 46-36 with 8:31 remaining before the Lions would battle back to close the gap to three (48-45) thanks to a layup and free throw from Hartzog.

With the Tigers building another ten-point lead (59-49) with three minutes remaining, the Lions would respond with six straight points, including four straight from Hartzog, to close the gap to within four (59-55), giving themselves a chance in the final minutes.  Unfortunately that would be as close as the Lions would get on the afternoon as the Tigers would hit three final free throws to win by seven.

The Bearcats last time out (9-10, 4-7 MIAA): The Southwest Baptist University women's basketball team had a tough match-up against #22 Truman State on Saturday afternoon (Feb.2) in Bolivar. The Bearcats battled hard, but were unable to defeat the #22 ranked Bulldogs as SBU fell 50-64.

Truman State came out of the gates quickly, taking an 8-2 lead to start off the game, as the Bearcats trailed by as many as 15 before cutting the lead down to 10 (19-29) going into the break.

SBU continued to fight hard in the second half, bring the Bulldog lead back to single digits numerous times, but Truman State would always quickly respond and send the deficit back to double figures. SBU got the lead down to eight two times in the final two minutes, but Truman State would hit free throws as SBU dropped the contest 50-64.

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 185-141 (.567) record in 12 years with the Lions. She holds a 268-197 (.576) 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.

Todd Voss is currently in his 2nd season at the helm of the Southwest Baptist women's basketball program. With a record of 18-27 (.400) record as the head coach of the Bearcats, Voss has a career record of 126-59 (.681) as a head coach after coaching at Concordia University-Seward for four years from 2002-2006.

The Series between the two schools: MSSU leads the overall series with SBU 38-20 with their last victory over the Bearcats coming on January 29, 2011 in Joplin with the Lions topping SBU 66-61 in overtime. The Lions are 24-5 overall at home against the Bearcats, while going nearly .500 on the road going 14-15 in Bolivar, Mo.