UCM Wins and Bring Coach Dave Slifer His 600th Victory
The fifth-seeded Jennies gave head coach Dave Slifer his 600th career win, knocking off fourth-seeded Missouri Southern, 70-64 at the Municipal Auditorium, advancing to the MIAA tournament semifinals for the fourth straight season.
The Jennies (21-8) never trailed against Missouri Southern and the game was tied only once with 15:11 left in the first half (5-5 score).
Three players for UCM scored in double-digits, led by senior Revonnia Howard, who finished with 23. The Chicago, Illinois native made 9-of-10 free throws and pulled in a team-high nine rebounds with a block. The block tied her with Tammy Wilson for fifth place on the Jennies' all-time list with 92. Junior Shelby Winkelmann chipped in 14 and junior Tayler Weiks added 12 off the bench.
After the game's only tie at 5-5, the Jennies scored six straight points to take an 11-5 lead with 12:58 to play in the first half. Howard scored five of her 23 points in the first seven-plus minutes.
Winkelmann and Weiks combined for nine of the team's next 11 points, sparking an 11-4 run to push the lead to 10 points with 7:18 left on the first half clock.
Missouri Southern closed the gap to 31-28, going on a 16-9 run over 5:32, but Howard and Weiks accounted for the Jennies' final six points of the half, providing UCM with a 37-31 lead at the intermission. The Jennies bench scored 14 first half points and held a firm advantage in points in the paint (20-8).
Coming out of halftime, the Jennies began to pull away from the Lady Lions, scoring 12 unanswered points to go up, 49-31, six coming via the three pointer from seniors Breonna Embray and Justina Prairie Chief.
Missouri Southern fought back, scoring 11 of the game's next 13 points to cut the deficit to nine with 11:34 to play.
The two teams traded buckets for the next seven possessions before Missouri Southern's Sharese Jones completed a three-point play to make it a 61-54 game in favor of the Jennies with 6:04 remaining.
A three-point play from senior Jasmine Thompson and a layup from junior Danielle Barry spiked the Jennies' lead to a dozen points with 5:16 to play, but the Lady Lions made one final comeback, scoring 10 straight points, closing the gap to 66-64 with 44 seconds to go.
In the final 16 seconds, Howard was a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line as the Jennies secured their spot in the conference tournament semifinals on Saturday night.
The win was the Jennies' ninth in a row. Central Missouri converted on 40.6% (26-of-64) of their shots and also sank 13-of-15 free throws (86.7%).
The Jennies will battle No. 1 seed Fort Hays State in the MIAA Tournament semifinals on Saturday, March 7 at 6 p.m. The Jennies have eliminated Fort Hays State from the conference tournament in each of the past three seasons