March 5, 2013
Northwest holds off Missouri Southern to advance
JOPLIN, Mo. – The Northwest Missouri State women’s basketball team held off a late rally from Missouri Southern to preserve a 77-72 victory Tuesday night in the first round of the MIAA Tournament.
The Bearcats improved to 15-12 on the season and ended the Lions season at 14-13. Northwest advances to play top seeded Washburn at noon Friday in the MIAA Tournament Quarterfinals at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.
Northwest dominated most of the first half racing out to a 7-0 lead before MSSU scored its first points at the 15:32 mark of the period. Fighting off a couple of runs from the Lions, Northwest took a 39-29 lead into the locker room.
Opening the second half the Bearcats looked poised to run away with their first round game, as a 10-4 lead to start the period gave Northwest a comfortable advantage. However, Missouri Southern would chip away at the Bearcat lead with the help of senior Erin Rice.
Rice scored 18 points in the second half as a jumper with 7:37 left helping the Lions tie the game at 55-55. The senior finished with a game high 26 points.
Ashleigh Nelson would answer a pair of Lion free-throws to give Northwest the lead just one minute later. The three-pointer from Nelson gave Northwest a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the night, as Nelson was one of four Bearcats to finish in double figures leading the way with 21 points.
Five free-throws in the final 1:06 of the game from Monique Stevens sealed the Northwest win as the Bearcats finished the night with their third best effort from the charity stripe. Northwest knocked down 20-of-28 free-throws to seal the win.
The Bearcats also out-rebounded the Lions 38-27, reversing their fortune from January when Missouri Southern pulled in 21 more rebounds than Northwest to hold a 44-23 advantage.
Monique Stevens was two points shy of her first double-double as the junior guard finished with eight points and 10 assists. Annie Mathews added 15 points while freshman Tember Schechinger finished with 10.
With the win the Bearcats advance to the MIAA Tournament Quarterfinals for a Friday afternoon matchup with No. 1 seed Washburn. The Lady Blues swept the season series with the Bearcats taking an 11-point win at home and a 7-point victory in Maryville. Tipoff from Municipal Auditorium is set for 12 p.m.
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Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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