Joplin, Mo. - Despite trailing the for the majority of the second half, the Missouri Southern women's basketball team prevailed in overtime squeaking by the Northwest Missouri Bearcats 64-60 tonight at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
The Lions (15-6, 9-5 MIAA) were led in scoring by sophomore guard Sharese Jones with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting while she also grabbed nine boards. Senior forward Dominique Mosley nearly notched a double-double herself scoring 12 points and corralling nine boards. Tee Singleton, Nicole Hartzog and Shawnee Phillips each chipped in eight points apiece.
The Bearcats (9-13, 6-9) had four players finish in double figures led by 13 points from Shelby Mustain. Annie Mathews added 12 points and 10 rebounds while Monique Stevens and Meridee Scott chipped in 10 points each.
Southern jumped out to a 10-7 lead after the first five and half minutes of play, but the Lions would get cold from the field and Northwest went on a 12-0 run over a 3:39 stretch to take a 19-10 advantage. After a Singleton jumper ended the run, Northwest took their largest lead of the game at 23-12 with 8:51 to play in the first half, but Southern responded with a 9-0 run to cut the Bearcats lead to two at 23-21. That run featured four points from Mosley and scores from Singleton and Phillips. Despite that late first half rally, Northwest went into halftime with a 33-28 lead. Southern shot 41.9% (13-31) from the field in the first half, while the Bearcats countered hitting 56.5% (13-23).
Northwest continued to lead for the vast majority of the second half as they took a 50-45 edge with 2:52 to play. After a pair of free throws from Fitzpatrick and Hartzog got the Lions within one, a layup from Mosley with 54 ticks remaining in regulation gave Southern their first lead of the second half. After a jumper by Northwest's Mustain gave the Bearcats back the lead at 52-51, Sharese Jones hit a free throw with twenty seconds to play to tie up the game as the Bearcats missed a layup at the buzzer sending the game to overtime.
After a three-pointer by Northwest put the Bearcats up four with 1:20 to play in the extra session, the Lions clamped down defensively as Kenya Brown got a steal leading to a layup by Jones that cut Northwest's lead to one at 60-59. After the Bearcats committed a foul coming out of a timeout with thirty seconds to play, Alexis Fitzpatrick calmly knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Lions ahead 61-60.
Coming out of another Northwest timeout, the Bearcats' Monique Stevens got a close look at the basket, but Fitzpatrick again came through with a timely play as she blocked Stevens' attempt. After Brown knocked down a free throw, the Lions sealed the deal with a steal from Jones and two more free throw from Singleton to escape with the 64-60 triumph.
Despite a tough night from the field as Southern only shot 34.9% (22-63) and 2-of-19 from three-point range, the Lions made up for it by knocking down 18 free three throws and grabbing a season-high 49 boards, including 19 offensive, while also nabbing a season-best 16 steals. The Lions outscored the Bearcats 34-22 in the paint, 19-5 in the second chance points and 30-10 off the bench.
Southern returns to action on the road on Saturday traveling to Missouri Western to face the Griffons (9-12, 4-10) at 1:30 p.m. at the MWSU Fieldhouse at Looney Complex in St. Joseph, Mo.