Women fall in MIAA Tournament

By Kyle Inman

March 1, 2012

Missouri Western was unable to extend its season, falling 80-63 to top-seeded Washburn in the first round of the MIAA Tournament at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo. The outside shot was going in early as Jessica Koch hit three 3-pointers, Kallie Schoonover hit one and the Griffons got out to a 18-7 lead. Abby Stone protected the basket by blocking four shots in the first four minutes. Washburn got things turned around in a hurry, going on a 23-0 run that included a string of six 3-point makes to give the Lady Blues a 30-18 lead. Western fought back and went into the halftime break trailing 43-34. “Any run that they had was going to be deflating,” Koch said. “We wanted to be with them the whole game.” Western cut the lead down to eight midway through the second half, but were unable to get within striking distance as Washburn extended the lead. “Early in the second half, we continued to fall back,” coach Lynn Plett said. “They just got too many second chance points.” Koch, the MIAA's leading scorer, put in 25 points including 6-for-10 from 3-point range and had four assists in her last game as a Griffon.  She finished her career as Western's all-time leading scorer with 1,776 points. “It wasn't a negative year, it was a very positive year,” Koch said. “Even though we lost today, it was a great year for us, and I love Missouri Western.” The Griffons were defeated two times during conference play by the Lady Blues, but up-tempo guard Ashleigh Curry missed both games. Washburn held her to 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting and limited her from getting out and scoring in transition. “It frustrated me, but I had to keep my head and get back in the ball game,” Curry said. “I was just frustrated.” Schoonover was the third player who scored in double-figures for the Griffons as she hit 4-for-8 from the field, putting in 11 points. Western couldn't overcome the size of Washburn, getting out-rebounded 46-to-21 and 20-to-13 on the offensive glass. Washburn post players Dana Elliott and Cassie Lombardino pulled down 11 and 10 rebounds while the leading rebounder for the Griffons was Curry with seven. “I think a lot of it came down to the rebounding, and they were getting to the free throw line,” Schoonover said. “The balls were falling to them, and they were attacking.” The Griffons attempted just two free throws to Washburn's 15 attempts in the first half of play. The Lady Blues shot 50 percent from 3-point range on the day. Western finished its season at 7-20.