Clay paces Southern women's basketball past #20 Washburn 68-59

Joplin, Mo. - Helping Missouri Southern women's basketball secure their first win over a ranked opponent since February 26, 2011, senior center Shonte Clay led four Lions in double figures as Southern downed No. 20 Washburn 68-59 this afternoon at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Clay finished with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. Also in double figures for the Lions (7-1, 2-0 MIAA) were Alexis Fitzpatrick, who finished with a career-best 16 points. Sharese Jones added 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Dominique Mosley chipped in 11 points and six boards.

The Ichabods (5-3, 1-1) also had four players in double figures led by Janelle Travis who went 6-12 from the field for 19 points. Casyn Buchman added 14 points and Brittney Lynch and Kara Lee chipped in 10 points apiece.

After getting off to a slow start on Thursday in their win over Nebraska-Kearney, the Lions reversed their fortune against Washburn as they found themselves up 9-2 after nearly three minutes thanks to five early points from Fitzpatrick and a pair of layups from Clay. Southern maintained their seven-point lead for the majority of the first half until Washburn hit a layup with 19 seconds remaining as the Lions took a five-point lead into the break as they went up 33-28. Southern shot 12-of-25 from the field in the first half as Fitzpatrick and Mosley each finished the half with 10 points apiece.

The Ichabods came out of the halftime break on fire as they reeled off the first seven points of the half to take their first lead since they started the game up 2-0. A three-pointer from Fitzpatrick ended Washburn's run as a free throw from Washburn tied the game at 36 before the teams traded three pointers to deadlock the game again at 39 with 16:04 to play. The Lions answered with a 21-8 run over the next nine and half minutes to take a 60-47 lead with 6:35 to play. That run featured 13 points from Clay, including eight straight points from the Chicago native.

Washburn refused to go away quietly as they responded with a 10-0 run over the ensuing 3:37 to pull within 60-57 with 2:58 to play. Southern answered back with a 6-0 run of their own to seal the game as Nicole Hartzog hit back-to-back layups and Fitzpatrick nailed a jumper to secure the win. A pair of late free throws from Jones iced the game as the Lions won their seventh consecutive game 68-59.

Southern shot 46.2% (24-52) from the field on the game, 33.3% (4-12) from three-point range and 80% (16-20) from the free throw line. The Lions outscored Washburn 36-26 in the paint and 17-6 off turnovers.

After a break this week for final exams, the Lions return to action on December 16 when they take on non-conference opponent William Woods (5-2) at 5:30 p.m. at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.