For the second straight game, Northwest Missouri State proved to be a much better second half team.
On this occasion, that was plenty good enough.
The Bearcats thoroughly outplayed Lindenwood at both ends over the final 20 minutes of their MIAA opener, turning a two-point lead at the half into a 69-40 rout Wednesday night at Bearcat Arena.
Northwest scored 43 second half points on 57 percent shooting and held Lindenwood to just 16 points on 6-23 shooting.
It's lead first reached 20 points with 10:33 left and hit as many as 31 on a three-point play by Ashleigh Nelson in the closing minutes.
"I think we finally settled in," said Northwest Missouri State head coach Mark Kellogg. "They threw some stuff at us early that we hadn't seen, I think a triangle-and-two. They did a good job with that. Our other kids didn't quite understand what to do either. The idea was to speed them up offensively. It would lead to some really quick offense. I thought that's when the we really blew it open."
Northwest improved to 6-2 on the season, matching last year's win total. This was also Northwest's first MIAA opening win since the 2009-2010 season.
It came in the MIAA debut for both Kellogg and Lindenwood.
"We needed to win," said Kellogg. "We're at home against Lindenwood whose transitioning out of NAIA into Division II. We needed to win that game. That gauntlet is coming up here at some point, so we needed to take care of business here when we have some winnable games at home."
Lindenwood (1-5, 0-1) looked more like an NAIA team than one that is ready to compete in the MIAA.
The Lions shot an abysmal 16-52 (30.8 percent) from the field and turned it over an appalling 31 times.
Most of them were unforced against Northwest's sagging pressure defense.
The Lions' 40 points were the fewest given up by Northwest all season.
"I've got two daughters of my own, and I can tell them not to touch the stove," said Lindenwood head coach Tony Francis. "The stove is hot. They're not going to find out how hot it is until they actually go through it."
Its roster down to 11 players, Northwest used only eight in the game and all of them contributed at least five points.
Freshman guard Tember Schechinger recorded her first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and sophomore Annie Mathews nearly did the same, finishing with a game-high 13 points and nine rebounds.
Senior guard Ashley Thayer was also in double-figures with 12 points.
Meridee Scott and Maggie Marnin added eight apiece.
The Lions had no one in double-figures. Their high scorer was Julie Hlinak with eight points.
Page 2 of 2 - Leading scorer Tori Kuhn had just six.
A game pitting two of the bottom four teams in the MIAA based on preseason polls provided its share of ugly basketball in the first half.
The two teams combined for 27 turnovers and each shot less than 35 percent.
Lindenwood scored seven straight during one stretch and took as much as a 14-7 lead on a reverse layup by Meghan Hittle off a backcourt turnover. After a timeout, the Bearcats answered with an 8-0 run and went in front briefly 16-14.
Lindenwood went back up by four before the Bearcats scored eight straight to take a four-point lead.
The Lions scored the final basket of the first half to make it 26-24.
It was all Northwest from there.
Northwest outscored Lindenwood 26-6 in the opening 9:47 of the second half and led by 22 at that point.
The Bearcats gained their first double-digit lead much earlier and never let it dip below eight.