Joplin, Mo. - Looking to clinch a top four spot in the MIAA and a berth to Kansas City for the MIAA Tournament next week, the Missouri Southern women's basketball team travels to St. Charles on Thursday to take on the Lindenwood Lady Lions at 5:30 p.m. at Hyland Arena.
Teams: Missouri Southern Lions (17-7, 11-6 MIAA) vs. Lindenwood Lady Lions (14-11, 9-9)
Date: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014
Tip-Off: 5:30 p.m., CT
Location: St. Charles, Mo.
Site: Hyland Arena (3,000)
Series Record: MSSU leads 5-0 (Home: 3-0, Away: 2-0)
Coaches: Ronda Hubbard (17-7 at MSSU, overall). Tony Francis (56-53 at Lindenwood, overall).
MSSU Radio: KZYM-AM 1230 The Talker, Mike McClure, Play-by-Play
Live Stats: http://www.sidearmstats.com/lindenwood/wbball/
Live Video: http://www.americaonesports.com/partner_members.asp?id=293
Lions on Facebook: Facebook.com/missourisouthernlions
Lions on Twitter: @mososports
Last time out for the Lions (17-7, 11-6 MIAA): Despite four players in double figures, the Missouri Southern Lions women's basketball team dropped a heartbreaking 71-68 defeat this afternoon to Pittsburg State on Senior Day at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
The Lions were led in scoring for the second consecutive game by Dominique Mosley, who continues her February tear as she registered 21 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field and went 9-of-10 from the free throw line. She also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to notch her sixth double-double of the year. Nicole Hartzog added 12 points and eight rebounds while the pair of Sharese Jones and Shawnee Phillips chipped in 11 points each.
Holding a 38-36 lead at halftime, the Lions started the second half strong on an 11-4 run taking their largest lead of the game at 49-40 with 16:20 to play. After a Lizzy Jeronimus jumper stopped the run, PSU responded with a 11-3 run of their own to re-take the lead at 53-52 with 12:20 remaining in the second half. Unable to wrestle the lead away from the Gorillas the rest of the afternoon, the Lions continued to claw and battle staying within earshot of PSU until the visitors from Kansas went on a 8-0 run over a 2:08 span to open up a 65-55 lead with 5:35 to play.
The Lions did not go away quietly as Phillips hit a layup and a free throw and Clay hit a layup of her own to close the gap to 65-60, but a layup by Jeronimus made the game 70-62 with 1:31 to play. After Phillips hit a three-pointer and Mosley hit three free throws over the next 75 seconds to close the game to within two at 70-68 with 16 ticks remaining, the Gorillas hit one final free throw and Jones missed a last second layup as the Southern dropped a hard-fought game.
Last time out for Lindenwood (14-11, 9-9): After clinching a berth in the MIAA Tournament Wednesday, the Lindenwood women's basketball team took its improbable season another step forward. It took all 40 minutes for the Lady Lions to beat Lincoln University 63-56 Saturday (Feb. 22) at Hyland Arena. Lincoln, which fell to 5-20, 2-16, was a thorn in the Lady Lions' paw in both games this season despite being in last place in the conference. The Blue Tigers beat the Lady Lions 67-58 Feb. 6 in Jefferson City and looked determined to pull off another upset. The Lady Lions led 5-4 with 16 minutes 36 seconds left in the first half, but didn't regain the lead until freshman Kassidy Gengenbacher sank a three-point shot with 15:10 left in the game.
The game went back and forth from there. Gengenbacher and sophomore guard Jenny Rocha led the Lady Lions with 17 points apiece. Gengenbacher's season scoring average climbed to 15 points per game. Senior Caroline Bourlioux matched her season average with 12 points.The Lady Lions have been blistering the goal from the field in their past four games but shot just 30.8 percent in the first half. They shot a whopping 59.1 percent in the second half as they charged from behind.
The Coaches: Ronda Hubbard (17-7) is in her 13th year on the staff at Missouri Southern and was promoted to the position of Interim Head Coach on July 2, 2013 after the retirement of Maryann Mitts. During her 12 years with the Lions, she has helped the team to a 189-145 record, including winning marks and a trip to the MIAA post season tournament in all by one of those 12 seasons.
Tony Francis (56-53) is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Lindenwood women's and enter tonight's game with a 56-53 overall record. Francis turned the women's basketball program around in his first season and is now leading the program as it transitions to the NCAA Division II level. Francis took over a Lindenwood program in 2010-11 that had not had a winning season in nine years and promptly had one of the top turnarounds in the NAIA. Lindenwood went from nine wins to 21, finished second in the HAAC with a 15-5 record, and just missed a NAIA Division I Tournament bid by one spot. Three Lady Lions were named to the All-HAAC squad and Morgan Harrington was named to the NAIA All-American team.
The series between the two schools: The Lions lead the overall series with Lindenwood 5-0 winning this year's previous matchup 72-61 at home over the Lady Lions. Clay led Southern with 19 points while Phillips chipped in 15 points. Southern won last year's game in St. Charles 78-74 as all five starters for the Lions finished in double figures. Southern is 3-0 at home and 2-0 on the road.
Scouting the Lady Lions: The Lindenwood women enter Thursday's game sitting in seventh place in the MIAA and having clinched a berth in the MIAA Tournament. As a team, they rank 1st in field goald percentage, 4th in the MIAA in scoring offense & free throw percentage and 6th in rebounding defense and assists. The Lady Lions are currently led in scoring by freshman guard Kassidy Gengenbacher, who ranks 7th in the league averaging 15 points per game, while senior forward Caroline Bourlioux checks in 19th at 12.0 ppg. Bourlioux leads the team in rebounds while Gengenbacher leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage shooting nearly 43% from beyond the arc.
Mosley continues February tear: Since the calendar changed to February, senior forward Dominique Mosley has been on a tear offensively averaging 18.0 points per game and averaging 8.3 boards per contest. She registered her sixth double-double on Saturday against Pittsburg State scoring 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. On the season, Mosley is leading the team in points, rebounds and blocks averaging 15.7, 7.3 and 0.8 blocks. In MIAA contests, she is averaging 14.4 ppg. and 6.8 rpg.
Lions are tough when: The Lions have found much success this year when they have an advantage in rebounding (14-4), outshoot opponents in field goal percentage (14-3), have more assists (15-2) and have more steals (14-2), lead at halftime (11-4), make more free throws (11-3), have fewer turnovers (11-2) and score 80+ points (8-0).
Lions fall out of regional rankings: Southern was ranked ninth in the first Central Regional Poll released last Wednesday (Feb. 19), but fell out in the most recent rankings that came out this afternoon. MIAA members Emporia State checked in first, followed by fellow conference members Central Missouri in third, Pittsburg State in fifth and Fort Hays State in 10th. With the top eight teams qualifying for the NCAA Tournament, the next poll will be released next Wednesday (Mar. 5).
With a win over Lindenwood: A win over Lindenwood on Thursday, the Lions clinch a berth in Kansas City as one of the top four teams in the MIAA and will await a quarterfinal matchup on Thursday, March 6 at Municipal Auditorium.
MIAA Team Rankings: The Lions rank 1st in the MIAA in rebounding defense (33.0 rpg.), 2nd in FG percentage (.457) & free-throw percentage (.746), 3rd in 3-point FG perc. (.328) & assists (15.2), 4th in steals (8.8 spg), 5th in scoring offense (72.8), reb. margin (+3.4) and scoring margin (+6.9).
MIAA Individual Rankings: Shonte Clay is 4th in the MIAA in FG percentage as she is shooting 54.4% from the field hitting 106-195. Sharese Jones is 5th at 53.8% (99-184). Dominique Mosley ranks 8th hitting 50.5% (141-279).
Samantha Soyez is 5th in the MIAA in assists averaging 3.8 apg as she has dished 88 helpers in 23 games. Alexis Fitzpatrick is 6th averaging 3.8 assists per game. Jones ranks 3rd in the MIAA in FT percentage at 80.1% (121-151). Mosley is 6th at 76.6% (95-124). Nicole Hartzog is 7th at 75.0% (69-92).
Fitzpartick leads the MIAA in steals averaging 2.4 swipes per game. She is 5th in the MIAA in minutes played averging 31.8 mpg. Hartzog is 2nd in steals with 2.0 spg.
Mosley ranks 5th in the MIAA in scoring averaging 15.7 ppg. Jones is 12th at 13.8 ppg. Clay is 23rd with 11.3 ppg. Hartzog is 26th at 10.8 ppg.
Mosley is 10th in boards grabbing 7.3 rpg. Jones is 17th with 6.4 rpg.
National Rankings: The Lions rank 20th in the nation in field goal percentage shooting 45.7% from the field. They check in 46th in free throw percentage hitting 74.6% from the line, while they are 54th in assists per game with 15.2, 63rd in scoring margin (+6.9) and 64th in rebounding margin (+3.7). Individually, Fitzpatrick ranks 53rd in steals (2.38) and Mosley is 56th (50.5) in the country in field goal percentage. Fitzpatrick ranks 78th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.60).