Joplin, Mo. - Coming off winning their final two regular season contests, the Missouri Southern women's basketball team opens up the MIAA Tournament on Thursday with a quarterfinal matchup with fifth-seeded Fort Hays State at 2:15 p.m. at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.
Teams: Missouri Southern Lions (19-7, 13-6 MIAA) vs. (RV) Fort Hays St. (20-7, 12-7)
Date: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Tip-Off: 2:15 p.m., CT
Location: Kansas City, Mo.
Site: Municipal Auditorium (10,116)
Series Record: FHSU leads 23-17 (Home: 13-7, Away: 4-16)
Coaches: Ronda Hubbard (19-7 at MSSU, overall). Tony Hobson (101-66 at FHSU, 514-172 overall).
MSSU Radio: KZYM-AM 1230 The Talker, Mike McClure, Play-by-Play
Live Stats: http://sidearmstats.com/miaa/wbball/
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Lions on Facebook: Facebook.com/missourisouthernlions
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Last time out for the Lions: Behind a double-double from sophomore guard Sharese Jones, the Missouri Southern Lions women's basketball team defeated the Lincoln Blue Tigers 60-52 this afternoon in Jason Gym.
Jones recorded her second double-double of the season as she finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Dominique Mosley added 14 points and seven rebounds while Alexis Fitzpatrick chipped in nine points sinking three three-pointers. The Lions (19-7, 13-6 MIAA) shot 20-of-46 (43.5%) from the field and went 5-of-11 (45.5%) from beyond the arc and 15-of-21 (71.4%) from the free-throw line.
After a 10-10 tie after the first seven minutes of play, the Lions went on 6-0 run to open up a 16-10 lead after a layup from Shonte Clay. Continuing to lead for the rest of the first half, Southern opened up their largest lead of the half going on a 10-3 run to take a 27-17 advantage after a pair of free throws from Mosley with 4:37 to play. Looking to open the game up, Lincoln did not go away quietly as they responded with an 8-0 run to close the game to a 27-25 margin. After a three-pointer by Fitzpatrick ended the Blue Tigers run, Southern went into halftime with a 34-29 lead.
Lincoln continued to hang right with the Lions in the second half as Southern only held a 45-41 lead with 8:46 to play, but a 15-8 run by the visitors over the next 7:40 gave the Lions a 60-49 after a layup from Nicole Hartzog. A last second three-pointer by the Blue Tigers made the final margin 60-52. The Lions outrebounded Lincoln 36-28 to end the regular season 17-4 when they held an advantage in boards. Southern had 10 steals and scored 14 points off those turnovers.
Last time out for the Tigers: Fifth-seeded Fort Hays State women's basketball advanced to the quarterfinals of the MIAA Championships with a 88-68 victory over Nebraska-Kearney on Monday (March 3) evening in Hays, Kan. FHSU (20-7, 12-7 MIAA) hit the 20-win mark for the third consecutive season – a first in the program's history, while UNK ends its season at 10-17 (6-13 MIAA).
Kate Lehman posted her seventh straight double-double in points (12) and rebounds (11) to go with six blocks. It was Lehman's 19th double-double of the season, and 39th of her career. Chelsea Mason's 18 points led the team, followed by Beth Bohuslavsky's 14 points.
Four Tigers (Lehman, Bohuslavsky, Keriann Shaw and Tera Ingalsbe) dished out two assists on the evening, as Katelyn Edwards fell just of a double-double with 11 points and six rebounds on 5-of-13 shooting from the field.
FHSU jumped out to a 6-0 lead early in the game, but UNK answered with a 13-2 run of its own that brought the game inside the 14-minute mark with the Lopers leading, 13-8. From there, Mason hit a jumper at 13:02 to start a 15-0 run for FHSU that lasted just under four minutes and put FHSU ahead, 23-13. FHSU led by as many as 21 in the first half and took a 49-28 lead into the break. With 11:08 to go in the game, FHSU broke off on its final run of the evening with six unanswered to lead, 68-45. The Tigers' lead reached 26 on two separate occasions in the second half, as the Tigers closed out the game with a 20-point lead.
The Coaches: Ronda Hubbard (19-7) 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 Hobson (514-172) is in his sixth season as head coach of the Fort Hays State women's basketball program in 2013-14 and 22nd season overall. FHSU enjoyed its best season under Hobson in 2012-13, going 22-7 overall. FHSU appeared in the WBCA Division II national rankings for the first time since 1996-97. The Tigers finished in a tie for fifth in the MIAA regular season standings and reached the semifinals of the MIAA Tournament. FHSU recorded its first two wins in the MIAA Tournament since joining the conference with victories in the opening round and quarterfinals. The Tigers posted back-to-back seasons of at least 20 wins for the first time since the 2004-05 & 2005-06 seasons.
The series between the two schools: The Tigers lead the overall series with the Lions 23-17. The Lions hole a 13-7 edge at home, but are only 4-16 on the road. The Lions won this year's only matchup in Joplin 76-71 on January 4 as Sharese Jones led Southern with 18 points. Shonte Clay added 14 points and Nicole Hartzog chipped in 13 points. This will be the schools first meeting ever on a neutral site and in postseason play.
Scouting the Tigers: Fort Hays State has won four straight games entering Thursday's game, including an 88-68 opening round victory over Nebraska-Kearney at home on Monday. The Tigers rank 1st in the MIAA in scoring offense (78.0), scoring margin (+18.4), rebounding offense (46.3), blocks (7.5) and steals (9.4) and 2nd in scoring defense (59.6), field goal percentage defense (36.0%), rebounding margin (+7.9) and assists (15.4). Hays is led in scoring and rebounding by the MIAA defensive player of the year and first-team all-conference junior center Kate Lehman who is averaging 16.6 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. She also leads the conference in field goal percentage and blocks while guard Beth Bohuslavsky leads the league in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Mosley, Clay, Jones and Fitzpatrick earn All-MIAA honors: Senior forward Dominique Mosley earned First-Team All-MIAA honors on Monday after averaging 15.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, while she averaged 14.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game during the MIAA season. Shonte Clay, Sharese Jones and Alexis Fitzpatrick all earned All-MIAA honorable mention honors.
Lions are tough when: The Lions have found much success this year when they have an advantage in rebounding (17-4), outshoot opponents in field goal percentage (16-3), have more assists (17-2) and have more steals (16-2), lead at halftime (12-4), make more free throws (13-3), have fewer turnovers (12-2) and score 80+ points (8-0).
Lions move back into regional rankings: Southern moved back into the Central Regional Poll released this afternoon coming in tenth. Southern was ranked ninth in the first poll released on Feb. 19, but fell out of the rankings last Wednesday (Feb. 26). In the most recent poll, MIAA members Emporia State checked in second, followed by fellow conference members Central Missouri in third, Pittsburg State in fifth and Fort Hays State in ninth. With the top eight teams qualifying for the NCAA Tournament, the Lions will qualify automatically for the NCAA Tournament winning the MIAA Tournament this weekend in Kansas City or finishing in the top eight in the final regional rankings that come out on Sunday evening at 9 p.m. in the NCAA selection show on NCAA.com.
A win over Fort Hays State: With a win over the Tigers on Thursday, the Lions will have 20 wins on the season, their most victories in a season since 1995-96 when they finished 23-6. It will also be the Lions' first win in the MIAA Tournament since the 2008-09 season when they beat Central Missouri 62-57 on March 6, 2009 before falling to Emporia State the next day 83-69 in the semifinals.
MIAA Team Rankings: The Lions rank 1st in the MIAA in rebounding defense (32.3 rpg.), 2nd in FG percentage (.456) & free-throw percentage (.746), 3rd in 3-point FG perc. (.334), 4th in steals (8.8), 5th in assists (14.7), scoring offense (72.2), reb. margin (+3.9), scoring margin (+7.1) and blocks (3.2) & 6th in scoring defense (65.2).
MIAA Individual Rankings: Shonte Jones is 4th in the MIAA in FG percentage as she is shooting 54.6% from the field hitting 107-196. Shonte Clay is 5th at 53.6% (112-209). Dominique Mosley ranks 8th hitting 50.0% (149-298).
Samantha Soyez is 5th in the MIAA in assists averaging 3.8 apg as she has dished 94 helpers in 25 games. Alexis Fitzpatrick is 6th averaging 3.5 assists per game.
Jones ranks 4th in the MIAA in FT percentage at 80.4% (135-168). Mosley is 6th at 77.7% (101-130). Nicole Hartzog is 11th at 74.2% (72-97).
Fitzpartick leads the MIAA in steals averaging 2.5 swipes per game. She is 6th in the MIAA in minutes played averging 32.0 mpg. Hartzog is 2nd in steals with 2.0 spg.
Mosley ranks 6th in the MIAA in scoring averaging 15.3 ppg. Jones is 11th at 13.9 ppg. Clay is 24th with 11.0 ppg. Hartzog is 27th at 10.5 ppg.
Mosley is 11th in boards grabbing 7.2 rpg. Jones is 15th with 6.7 rpg.
National Rankings: The Lions rank 19th in the nation in field goal percentage shooting 45.6% from the field. They check in 46th in free throw percentage hitting 74.6% from the line, 56th in rebounding margin (+4.2), 60th in scoring margin (+7.1), 71st in assists per game with 14.7 and 75th in 3-point field goal percentage (33.4). Individually, Fitzpatrick ranks 43rd in steals (2.5) and Mosley is 65th (50.0) in the country in field goal percentage.