Women's basketball downs Lindenwood 71-61 as they clinch a berth to Kansas City for the MIAA Tournament

St. Charles, Mo. -  The Missouri Southern women's basketball team overcame a three-point halftime deficit and used three players in double figures to down the Lindenwood Lady Lions 71-61 this evening at Hyland Arena as they secured a top four finish in the MIAA and earned a berth to Kansas City for next week's MIAA Tournament.

The Lions (18-7, 12-6 MIAA) were led in scoring by Alexis Fitzpatrick as she led the way with 18 points finishing 4-for-9 from the floor and 8-for-10 from the free throw line. St. Charles native Sharese Jones added 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds while Shonte Clay chipped in 11 points. Dominique Mosley and Nicole Hartzog also added eight points each. The Lions shot nearly 50% from the field as they finished the evening 23-for-49 (.469) while hitting 22-for-28 (.786) from the free throw line.

The Lady Lions (14-12, 9-10) were led in scoring by Kassidy Gengenbacher who scored 26 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field, while hitting 4-for-5 from beyond the arc and went a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Morgan Johnson added 10 points while Caroline Bourlioux chipped in six points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.

After the first nearly nine minutes of play saw the game start off very evenly as it was tied at 12, Lindenwood took its first lead of the game going on a 6-0 run to take a 18-12 lead halfway through the first half. The Lady Lions continued to lead by five with three and minutes to play in the, but a layup by Hartzog cut it to three. The home team responded by knocking down four straight free throw to open up a 29-22 lead with 2:25 to play, but it was all Southern the rest of the half as they ended the half with a layup by Hartzog and a jumper from Clay to go in the locker room down three trailing 29-26.

The Lady Lions continued to lead by four (32-28) after the first three minutes of the second half, but four straight points from Jones tied the game at 32 apiece with 15:56 to play in the second half. Looking to pull away after taking the lead for good on a jumper by Fitzpatrick, the Lady Lions held tough over the next eight plus minutes never trailing by more than four until the Lions went on a 10-4 run to open up a 55-48 lead with 5:38 to go. Responding to a three-pointer by LWU that brought them within one at 45-44, the Lions reeled off eight straight points getting a pair of three-pointers from Shawnee Phillips and Fitzpatrick along with a layup from Phillips.

Southern was in the driver's seat from there as they went 8-for-10 from the free throw line in the final 90 seconds to secure the victory and a berth to Kansas City. The Lions outrebounded Lindenwood 35-22 improving to 16-4 on the year when they outrebound their opponents.

Southern wraps up the regular season on Saturday when they travel to Jefferson City to face the Lincoln Blue Tigers (5-20, 2-16) at 1:30 p.m. from Jason Gym.