Women's basketball defeats Avila 69-54 to open Thanksgiving Classic play

Joplin, Mo. - Behind 20 points each from Dominique Mosley and Sharese Jones, the Missouri Southern women's basketball team defeated Avila 69-54 tonight in their first game of the Pizza Hut/ Fairfield Inn Thanksgiving Classic hosted by Missouri Southern at Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Both Mosley and Jones followed up career-best outing last Saturday to again nearly both post double-doubles. Mosley grabbed 11 rebounds to secure her second consecutive double-double while Jones corralled nine to narrowly miss her second double-double of the season. In addition to Mosley and Jones' solid performances, the Lions (2-1) also got a season-high in points from senior center Shonte Clay who finished with 15 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the field. Samantha Soyez chipped in seven assists.

Avila (1-5) was led in scoring by Michaela Brinkley who finished with 23 points to go along with eight rebounds. The Eagles' Kelsey McConnell, Rebekah Capeder and Jessica Smith each finished with eight points apiece.

Southern jumped out to an early 13-5 lead after five minutes of play thanks to five early points from Soyez. Avila quickly responded with a 13-0 run of their own, including ten straight points from Brinkley, in just over three minutes to take a 18-13 lead with 11:15 to play in the first half. A pair of Clay free throws ended Avila's run as the two teams would be deadlocked at 21 with five minutes to play in the first half. The Lions answered with 11 of the next 14 points to take a 32-24 lead after a layup from Jones, but the Eagles' would hit a shot at the buzzer to only be down six at the break.

After taking a early nine-point (40-31) edge out of the locker room on layup from Jones, Avila proceeded to go on a 12-1 run, including five layups, to take a two-point advantage with 14:41 to play in the second half. The Lions had had enough as Southern responded furiously with the next six points and would not traill again in the game. After Avila hit a layup to close the gap to two at 47-45, Mosley gave the Lions a spark off the bench scoring eight consecutive points for Southern as they opened up a seven-point (55-48) lead with seven and half minutes to play.

After the Eagles cut the lead to six (58-52), the Lions finished the game on a 11-2 run thanks to scores from Jones, Mosley, Clay and Nicole Hartzog and finished off a tough 69-54 victory. 

Southern shot 44% (22-50) from the field, 14.3% (2-14) from three-point range and a solid 76.7% (23-30) clip from the free-throw line. The Lions had 18 assists on their 22 field goals while outrebounding the Eagles 36-34.

The Lions wrap up the Pizza Hut/ Fairfield Inn Thanksgiving Classic Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. when they take on the Evangel Crusaders (3-3) at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.