Tough battle gives Griffons third straight loss

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The road has been rough for the Missouri Western women, going 0-3 for the week in conference play against Emporia State, Central Missouri and Lincoln.

Western left Jefferson City after a hard fought game, losing 66-73 against the Lincoln Blue Tigers.

Western struggled shooting from the field throughout the whole game against the Blue Tigers, who lost against Western earlier this season in the Lincoln University Thanksgiving Classic, 65-57. This game’s outcome was different.

You could tell early on that it was going to be a great defensive battle between the two teams. After the Griffons extended their lead to six points, the Blue Tigers went on an 8-0 run in the first half off a few turnovers by the Griffons, to make the score 25-23.

It was only a two point game with the Griffons trailing Lincoln 33-31 at halftime. The Griffons were out rebounded by eight in the first half and they did a good job defending Lincoln’s star player, Freddie Sims. In the first 15 minutes, the Griffons also played well in transition defense against Lincoln’s guards Arriana Walker and Booker, but the second half was a different story.

In the second half, Arriana Walker became the difference in the game and was just two assists away from a triple-double, scoring a game high 27 points, snatching 11 rebounds and adding eight assists. The Griffons weren’t able to stop her. Western’s coach Rob Edmisson noticed the little things that added up in the Griffon’s defeat.

“We put put number 23 (Arriana Walker) to the free throw line 14 times,” Coach Edmisson said.

Walker ended up knocking down 11-14 from the free-throw-line.

The Griffons had a great start to the second half, but just like the Central Missouri game, Western lost in the end due to key errors. After Western’s guard, Alex Saxen, hit back to back three-pointers, Lincoln went on a 9-0 run and gained one of there biggest leads of the game with 10:59 left, 54-47. The Griffons cut Lincoln’s lead to 60-57, but missed opportunities blew the Griffons chance of winning.

“We are finding ways to implode,” Coach Edmisson said.

Including the game against the Blue Tigers, the Griffons brought home three losses from three road games, bringing their record to 12-6 overall and 5-5 in the MIAA. The Griffons won the battle for rebounds 38-32 against Lincoln. Western went 24-64 shooting 37.5 percent and going 5-24 shooting 20.8 percent from the 3-point-line. The free-throw-line is what killed Western, with the Griffons going 13-23 and shooting 56.6 percent from the line. While Lincoln shot 16-21 and was 76.2 percent from the line. This loss was the Griffons third straight loss.

Western guard, Alicia Bell, had a great game scoring 16 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Coach Edmisson’s regular rotation was a little short with JaQuitta Dever not playing.

Western also fell to the Central Missouri Jennies 74-71. This was their toughest lost of the year, going longer than regulation time.

Western started off sluggish, letting the sixteenth ranked Jennies start off the first half with a 12-1 lead. Then the Griffons went on a 9-2 run to cut the Jennings lead 10-14 in the first half.

“In the first five minutes of the game we were really tentative and didn’t really come out and guard with energy,” Coach Edmisson said.

Both teams defenses were going at it with the Griffons defense keeping them in the game. After first half jitters, Western settled down and kept it close as the
Griffons trailed 19-14 with 9:59 left to play in the first half. After several unforced errors by the Griffons, the Jennies went on a run and lead the Griffons 28-19 with 4:07 left in the first half.

After giving up 12 points and scoring just one, the Jennies had control of Western 33-24 at halftime.

Missouri Western had nine turnovers in the first half while the Jennings had five. The Griffons went 8-28 shooting 29 percent from the field and 2-8 shooting, 25 percent from the 3-point-line. The Jennings went 12-30 shooting 40 percent from the field and 3-9 shooting 33 percent from the 3-point-line. Heather Howard and Alex Saxton led the Griffons in first half scoring five points each.

After the first five minutes, the Griffons turned the game around and in the second half they came out rolling. Starting the half 33-24, the Griffons cut the lead to 35-37 at 16:57 seconds.

“That we didn’t change a lot and started doing what we were supposed to do,” Coach Edmisson said.

Then the Griffons flew out to a 15-4 run with KC Clauser making a layup in the 15 minute mark in the second half, giving the Griffons their first lead of the game. With 3:20 seconds left in the half, the Griffons had their biggest lead of the game 62-54, and then the Jennings decided to wake up. With 52 seconds left, the Griffons took a timeout leading 62-59, controlling the entire second half. Then at the 44 second mark, the Griffons led 62-61 after the Jennings pressured the ball to cut into the Griffons lead. The Griffons had a three point lead cut instantly with two possessions leading into a turnover with only 45 seconds left. After the Jennings took the lead at the 34 second mark, Lanicia Lawrence tied the game at 63 with a free-throw. After the Griffons led by eight points with three minutes to go, the Jennies went on a 9-1 run to end regulation forcing overtime.

With a 70-70 tie game after a Heather Howard layup, the Griffons couldn’t capitalize on opportunities. After the Jennies took the lead KC Clouser got fouled and missed her first free-throw and then made the second with 1:49 left, keeping the game close 72-71. With 16 seconds left in overtime a Heather Howard layup went off the rim that would have tied the game, but then the Griffons had to foul and they came up short and lost 74-71.

”Unfortunately the game was about three minutes too long,” Coach Edmisson said.

Heather Howard had a great game with 26 points and 11 rebounds charting another double-double.

“She is a hard matchup for teams,” Coach Edmisson said.

Alex Saxen added 10 points and two rebounds.

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