The Missouri Western Griffons fell for the final and eighth straight time in the 2009-2010 season this past Saturday. They lost to Southwest Baptist 68-55.
The Griffons came out hot, starting the game with six straight points. The Bearcats then came storming back to tie it at six. After a three pointer by guard Rachel Graves, the Bearcats would take the lead and didn’t look back. The Griffons finished the season 7-20 and 5-15 in the MIAA.
The Bearcats dominated the first half and after taking the lead with 15:48 left and manhandled the Griffons for the next 10 minutes, going up by as many as 11. The Griffons would not go away easily though, as they outscored the Bearcats 11-4 in the final four minutes.
The run helped the Griffons make the game interesting and they were able to go into halftime down 30-33. Abby Stone was the Griffons leading scorer at the break with eight points and sophomore Jessica Koch followed with seven. For the Bearcats, Rachel Graves was the first half’s leading scorer with 10 points.
The Griffons shot 41 percent on 12-29 from the field and only 20 percent from three-point range, hitting only one in the first half. The Griffons’ defense stepped up their inside game holding the Bearcats to just 37 percent shooting and 27 percent from beyond the arc. Southwest Baptist took 18 threes in the first half and the Griffons knew they would have to hold them to a low percentage to beat them.
“We knew coming in they had a lot of good three-point shooters and we just had to slow them down,” forward Jessica Koch said.
The second half was a whole new ball game. The Griffons took all the momentum into the locker room and wanted to keep up the pace in the second half. For the first five minutes, they did everything in their power to keep up, bringing it to a one-point game twice.
Southwest Baptist then started using their deadly half-court trap and the Griffons just couldn’t figure it out.
“I think one of our biggest problems was their half-court trap and us on offense turning the ball over,” Koch said.
The Griffons turned the ball over 15 times in the second half which lead to 18 points for the Bearcats.
The Griffons got the game within seven after a layup from Koch, but that was as close as they would get. Southwest Baptist pulled away after that going on a 10-4 run and ending the Griffons’ season on a sour note. Jessica Koch led the Griffons with 16 points, while Rachel Graves had 17 for Southwest Baptist.
Though the season didn’t go the way the team wanted it to, there are some positives that the team can take into next year.
“If you watched the game, we had 15-20 shots where we were right under the basket, so you make three-quarters of those and we win the game,” head coach Lynn Plett said. “So the team had the opportunities and knows the offense.”
There are some things he would really like to see them improve on.
“Number one, we have to improve on our confidence and just be more mature about things,” Plett said.
The Griffons finished their season at 7-20 overall and 5-15 in the MIAA.