The Southwestern Community College women’s basketball team jumped out to a 13-point lead early in the second half, but North Central Missouri chipped away at the lead throughout the half, eventually winning 59-57.
Spartan sophomore Jamee Miner took a 3-point shot from the corner for the win in the final seconds, but just missed off the mark.
North Central Missouri took the lead with :32 remaining on two Kelsey Griffin free throws.
The Spartans recovered from a slow start in the first half to take a 29-21 lead into the break.
“We did not play well to open up,” head coach Brett Gilcrist said. “I actually thought we didn’t do a bad job defensively early, we just couldn’t make shots. We had kind of oriented our offense toward really trying to create off dribble and kick to the open shooter. We did that to start the game. The problem was we just didn’t make those shots.”
Southwestern made adjustments, however, and started to use dribble penetration to set up the screen and roll.
“That helped us get back in the game,” Gilcrist said. “Their post player — Mysti Williams —she’s a great player offensively because she’s so strong, she’s so tough, but defensively, she is somewhat of a liability for them. When we brought her away from the rim, it kind of told us we could take advantage of her.”
One of the benefactors of the offensive adjustments was freshman Darian Polson, who finished the game with a team-high 18 points for the Spartans. Miner added 12 points and freshman Morgan Knorr finished with 10.
Miner added 11 assists and 10 steals to finish with a triple-double.
Williams finished with a game-high 21 points, but Gilcrist though Southwestern sophomore Brittany Clark shut Williams down while she was guarding her.
“Brittany Clark does not get enough credit for how good she is,” Gilcrist said. “I honestly think if you ask the North Central coaches, they will tell you Brittany Clark was our best player today, because she one-on-one locked down their go-to player. I could not be more impressed with how tough she was.”
The turning point in the game came with 6:41 remaining, when Knorr fouled out of the game after a miscommunication with the scorer’s table, which led to a technical foul on Gilcrist.
“I thought she had three fouls, turns out she had four. I would have never had her in the game at that point in time if I knew she had four fouls,” Gilcrist said. “I think, myself included, we started to let our frustrations manipulate how we played. I shouldn’t have taken the technical foul.”
Southwestern falls to 0-3 for the season after taking two losses at the Fort Scott Classic last weekend.
The Spartans return to action Friday at the Kansas City Classic against Kansas City Community College.
North Central Missouri (59) — Kelsey Griffin 3, Kayla Hewitt 2, Lexi Hope 6, Whitney Bennett 6, Kristin Hasting 2, Samone Redditt 15, Mysti Williams 21, Amanda Rodenberg 4. 3-point goals — (2). Team fouls — 16. Fouled out — none.
SOUTHWESTERN (57) — Darian Polson 18, Jamee Miner 12, Morgan Knorr 10, Taylor Zimmerman 7, Jaraylia Knight 3, Miranda Williams 3, Alycia Raney 2, Kourtni Stumpf 2. 3-point goals — (3) Zimmerman 1, Knorr 1, Knight 1. Rebounds — Brittany Clark 8, Polson 8, Stumpf 5. Assists — Miner 11, Knorr 3. Steals — Miner 10. Blocked shots — Clark 1, Polson 1. Team fouls — 19. Fouled out — Zimmerman, Knorr.
NCM — 21 59
SWCC — 29 28