On the road for the first time in league play, Northwest Missouri State's women squandered as much as a six-point second half lead and lost to Missouri Southern 64-55 Thursday night at the Leggett and Platt Center in Joplin.
The Lions seized control of the game with a run of nine straight points capped by a Nicole Hartzog three to make it 50-42 with 7:08 left.
Northwest never came closer than seven points down the stretch and endured a near eight minute field goal drought.
The Bearcats fell to 8-3 overall, 2-1 in the MIAA and had a four-game win streak snapped. Missouri Southern improved to 7-3 overall and 1-1 in the MIAA.
This was the Lions' fourth straight win over Northwest.
"They outplayed us in the second half for sure," said Northwest Missouri State women's coach Mark Kellogg. "We were in position to win the game, but we weren't good enough in the second half and that's disappointing. We'll probably look back at this one and say 'this is one we probably could've figured out how to win.' We didn't have the mental toughness to win on the road."
Southern shot 43 percent from the field, made its last three 3-pointers after starting 0-9 and punished Northwest on the glass 44-23.
In the second half, the Lions did a much better job taking care of the ball and keeping Northwest off the foul line.
They committed just eight of their 26 turnovers in the second half and Northwest's free throw attempts decreased from 23 to 10.
Northwest had a tough go of it offensively, shooting 15-48 (31 percent) overall, 4-18 (22 percent) from three and 21-33 (64 percent) at the foul line.
The Bearcats actually missed 16 of their first 18 three-point tries before connecting on two late one's.
They started 7-8 at the foul line and went just 14-25 from then on.
Northwest's only double-figure scorer was sophomore guard Ashleigh Nelson with 12 points. Sophomore center Maggie Marnin and freshman guard Tember Schechinger each scored nine points.
Meridee Scott and Annie Mathews each had eight. Alexis Boeh added six points.
Southern had four players reach double-figure scoring on the night. The team leader was Tee Singleton with 13 points on 5-5 shooting.
Shatara Stone, Erin Rice and Jolee Sharp all scored 10 points. Stone also grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Dominique Mosley just missed being the fifth in double-figures with nine. Shonte Clay finished with seven points.
Northwest led by as many as six in the first half and managed a three-point halftime lead.
The Bearcats prospered from a 23-11 disparity in free throw attempts and an 18-6 edge in turnovers.
Page 2 of 2 - They shot just 6-20 (30 percent) in the first half and were out-rebounded 25-6. At one point, Southern held a 14-1 edge on the glass.
The Bearcats never trailed in the first half after a three by Nelson made it 13-11 and ended a streak of seven straight misses.
With the game tied at 13, Northwest scored six straight points to increase its lead to 19-13.
Back-to-back baskets by Mosley and Clay tied it at 22 with 5:05 left in the half.
The Bearcats scored their final six points of the half at the foul line, but missed three to keep the lead at 28-25 at the half.
"We were up three, but it felt like we should've been up 10 or 12," said Kellogg. "We left some points on the board."
After a slow start to the second half by both teams, Southern tied it at 30 on a three-point play by Sharp with 15:47 to go.
The Bearcats scored six straight points to lead 36-30 with 13:47 left.
Rice immediately answered with a three-point play and a three by Singleton—Southern's first of the game—tied it at 36.
Nelson hit a three to put the Bearcats back up 39-36.
A three by Sharp tied it at 39 and a fade-away gave Southern a 41-39 lead, its first of the half.
Boeh converted a three-point play in transition to put Northwest back up 42-41 at the 11:05 mark. This would be Northwest's last field goal until a layup by Nelson with 3:16 left.
The Bearcats continue a three-game road swing Saturday at 11:30 a.m. against No. 17 Pittsburg State on CBS College Sports Network.