After Central Missouri came into MWSU Fieldhouse, Missouri Western couldn’t help but hang its head a little bit.
The Griffons were outplayed in every aspect Wednesday night, losing 75-55. Central shot 42 percent from the field.
“[Central] has a great inside-outside game,” coach Lynn Plett said. “We should have been up on them more.”
Though the game was meaningless in regards to playoff implications, Western wouldn’t say that the game didn’t matter. The Griffons needed confidence to come out of Wednesday’s game, and a loss Saturday could result after feeling such dissatisfaction from a lackluster performance.
“We just didn’t have the energy from the beginning of the ball game that we needed to,” Plett said. “I don’t think there was any in their heads at all, ‘We don’t have to play hard today,’ cause I’m not even sure they all realized that.”
The Griffons fell behind 29-6 with 8 minutes, 28 seconds to play. The Jennies didn’t stop adding pressure to the Griffons, and secured a 37-17 halftime lead.
Western cut the lead down to 14 twice, but Ashleigh Curry missed a 3, and Jessica Koch — who led the Griffons with 16 points — missed a layup that rolled off the rim. Both tries could have cut the lead.
“We just need to have the confidence in each other,” Koch said. “At halftime we said, ‘We need to come out and we need to take some pride in our defense.’ And that led to our offense.”
Koch, who was playing with the flu, needed 40 points to become the career leader in points scored at Western. After her 16-point effort, the senior needs 24 Saturday. Should the Griffons defeat Southwest Baptist, she has at least one more game to try to extend her point total in the MIAA tournament.
If the Griffons win Saturday, they are the No. 8 seed in Thursday’s first round of tournament action. If they lose, they are not going to be invited. Southwest needs a win and a Northwest Missouri State loss to sneak into the field of eight. Northwest needs a win and a Western loss.
Northwest plays last-place Missouri Southern Saturday.
“I really believe that their heart is still there,” Plett said. “We got to play smarter and we got to play more aggressively than we did tonight.”
The Jennies were paced by four double-digit scorers. Western shot 50 percent in the second half, but went 4-for-29 in the first half, which resulted in the slow start.
Koch said though the game didn’t matter, the players wanted to win and didn’t think about the game not counting.
“It’s basically the start of our tournament,” Koch said. “We need to win to keep on going. So that’s the type of urgency that we’re going to have.”
Curry came off the bench and went 5-for-12 from the field and finished with 12 points.