ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - Despite leading by nine points at halftime, Florida Southern College women's basketball was unable to hang on in a 74-67 loss at Missouri Western on Saturday afternoon in the final day of the MWSU Thanksgiving Classic at MWSU Fieldhouse. The Moccasins (4-4) were outscored 27-16 by the Griffons (5-1) in the third quarter, and the swing in momentum proved to be the difference.
Mackenzie Steele led the Mocs with 20 points off the bench, while Julia Jenike scored 19 and Ashley Shell added 12. But the Griffons shot 62.5 percent (10-of-16) in the third quarter and made 10-of-16 free throws in the fourth to seal the victory. Florida Southern returns to Sunshine State Conference action on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. when it plays host to Saint Leo.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- 1st Quarter | It was obvious from the onset that the game would be close the entire time as neither team led by more than four points in a tightly-contested first quarter. The Mocs led by scores of 10-6 and 12-8 in the first six minutes of play, but the Griffons battled back each time before Southern finally took a 19-15 lead into the second quarter. Steele had eight points in the first, including a pair of three-pointers.
- 2nd Quarter | The Moccasins used 10-4 run over the first two and a half minutes of the second quarter to push their lead to double digits (29-19) on Elsa Landberg's three with 7:37 to play in the first half. Florida Southern would lead by as many as 11 points (40-29) with 1:13 on the clock and took a 40-31 lead into the locker room at the half.
- 3rd Quarter | The tide turned dramatically late in the third quarter when, with Florida Southern leading by six (46-40), the Griffons mounted a 9-2 run to grab the lead (49-48) with 3:06 to go in the period. The Moccasins were able to steady themselves and took a 56-52 lead when Shell hit a pair of free throws with 1:15 on the clock, but the Griffons scored the final six points of the quarter to take a two-point edge (58-56) into the fourth quarter.
- 4th Quarter | Missouri Western rode the wave of momentum into the early stages of the fourth quarter as it outscored the Moccasins 10-4 over the first six and a half minutes and led 68-60 with 3:33 to play. The Moccasins mounted a 7-0 run to slice the deficit to a single point (68-67) on Jenike's layup at the 1:45 mark, but the Griffons hung on and hit key free throws down the stretch to pull out the win.
- The Moccasins shot 44.3 percent (27-of-61) from the floor, but Missouri Western connected on 51.2 percent (22-of-43) of its shots and outscored the Mocs 27-5 at the free-throw line. In all, the Griffons made 39 trips to the charity stripe while Southern made just six.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern fell to 0-2 all-time against Missouri Western. The schools had not played since the Griffons knocked the Mocs out of the NCAA Elite Eight on March 28, 1995.
- Missouri Western's 39 free throw attempts are the most for a Moccasin opponent since Lynn attempted 47 on Jan. 24, 2015.
- Steele's scoring output was her fourth double-digit performance of the year and the second 20-point output of her career.
- Florida Southern will jump back into Sunshine State Conference action when it hosts Saint Leo (Dec. 4) and Lynn (Dec. 14) before closing out the calendar year with matchups against Lindenwood (Dec. 19) and Drury (Dec. 20).