Joplin, Mo. - Returning home for their first game at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center since January 4, the Missouri Southern women's basketball team defeated Lindenwood 72-61 tonight behind 19 points from Shonte Clay.
The senior center from Chicago put together another strong performance as she went 9-of-13 from the field while grabbing four rebounds. The Lions (11-3, 5-2 MIAA) also got outstanding performances by Shawnee Phillips as she tied her career-high with 15 points while hitting a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Nicole Hartzog added 10 points while Alexis Fitzpatrick chipped in eight points and tied her career-high with 10 assists. Finally, Dominique Mosley nearly recorded a double-double as she scored nine points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Lindenwood (8-7, 3-5) were led in scoring by Morgan Johnson with 16 points while leading scorer Kassidy Gengenbacher added 14. Caroline Bourlioux chipped in 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
The Lions got off to a strong start going up 10-3 after the first four minutes of play as Clay scored the first five points of the game for Southern. Keeping their lead at seven plus over the next eight minutes, the Lions took a 27-19 lead, before Lindenwood roared back with a 7-2 run to close the game to 29-26 with five minutes to play. Looking to put the Lady Lions away, Southern finished the half strong as they went on a 11-4 run to take a 40-30 lead into the halftime break. That final run featured six more points from Clay as well as a three-pointer from Hartzog and a pair of free throws from Phillips.
Southern pushed their lead to 13 out of the break as Clay hit a layup and Fitzpatrick nailed a three-pointer to take a 45-32 edge on the scoreboard after the first two minutes of the half. Not backing down, the Lady Lions continued to be game as they went on a 16-7 run over the next seven and half minutes to close the game to a four point spread at 52-48, before the Lions made some timely baskets and got strong defense to put the game away.
After Lindenwood got as close as 54-51 with 7:30 to play in the second half, Southern went on a quick 7-0 run over a two-minute stretch to build their lead back to a ten-point cushion as Phillips scored five points in that critical stretch. The Lions continued to build their lead as they scored seven of the next nine points scored as four different Lions got points to take their largest lead of the game at 68-53 with 1:50 to go as they finished out the 72-61 win.
The Lions continue to shoot the ball well from the field as they went 26-of-56 (.464), while nearly hitting 50% from three-point range connecting on 7-of-16 (.438) from beyond the arc. Outrebounding their opponent for the 12th time in 14 games, the Lions held a 36-28 edge in boards while dishing out 21 assists.
Southern returns to action at home on Saturday as they host the Lincoln Blue Tigers (3-11, 0-7) at 1 p.m. at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.