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MSSU women to open MIAA play vs. #23 UCO

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RELEASE FROM MISSOURI SOUTHERN ATHLETICS:

Joplin, Mo. - The Missouri Southern women's basketball team tips off the 25th overall meeting with the No. 23 Central Oklahoma Bronchos tomorrow at 5:30 pm to open conference play as part of of a six-game home stand in Joplin.
 
Game Information
Date:  Thursday December 6, 2018
Tip-Off: 5:30 pm
Location: Joplin, Mo.
Site: Leggett and Platt Athletic Center   
Series Record: MSSU: leads 14-10
 
Media Coverage
MSSU Radio: Fox Sports Joplin 101.3, AM 1560; 88.7 FM KXMS
Audio:  http://radio.securenetsystems.net/v5/WMBH
Webcast: http://themiaanetwork.com/mssulions/
Live Stats: https://mssulions.com/sidearmstats/wbball/summary
 
 Picking Up the Scent: Five Components on Opponents  
Central Oklahoma

  • Picked Fifth in the MIAA preseason poll
  • National Rankings (301 schools):
    • 16th in scoring defense (52.7)
    • 22nd in three-point FG defense (24.3)
    • 25th in FG percentage defense (34.2)
    • 26th in steals (83)
    • 28th in 3-pointers made (60)
  • Return nine total players, including All-MIAA honorable mention recipient senior guard Blake Blessington while losing seniors Melinda Murillo (1st) and All-MIAA defender Jesheon Cooper (3rd) along with Freshman of the Year Jo'Nah Johnson who transferred to NEO for her sophomore season.
  • Bring in three transfers including former Heartland Conference Freshman of the Year junior guard Micayla Haynes while playing for Arkansas-Fort Smith and averaging 10.0 points per game and leading the team with 63 three-point baskets along with 49 steals, forward McKenna Pulley from Northern Oklahoma for 12.0 points per game on 43-percent shooting from the field and grabbing 6.0 rebounds, and sophomore Kaci Richardson of the Seminole scoring 14.4 points and grabbing 8.7 rebounds per game together with a 33-point game against Kilgore.
  • Coach Hardaker has posted six 20-win seasons at UCO after going back-to-back during the 2016-17 & 2017-18 seasons with a finals appearance in the MIAA tournament and a berth into the NCAAs in front end of two seasons (25-8).


Quick Notes
Stop the Polls 
The Lions enter this year chosen to finish to 10th in the conference after going 11-17 and 8-11 in MIAA play during the 2017-18 campaign. Defending NCAA Champions Central Missouri was chosen to win the MIAA with 13 first-place votes while Fort Hays received the remaining vote in second as Emporia State (3), Washburn (4), and Central Oklahoma (5) rounded out the top-5.  UCM remains seventh while FHSU moved up another spot into the top-ten in ninth. UCO cracks the list for the first time this season with an undefeated record (7-0) for 23rd as ESU follows behind at 24th.
 
Leader of the Pride 
Guard Chelsey Henry returns as the only senior from last year's squad and will be looked upon to make sure that all nine newcomers understand what it means to compete in what is the MIAA. She closed out last year's schedule fifth in the MIAA in scoring (17.5 ppg), fourth in free-throw percentage (86.6%), and seventh in field-goal percentage (43.0%) to earn All-MIAA honorable mention while being just 72 points shy of breaking the 1,000 career-point barrier in the green and gold after registering double-digit scoring in three of four games.
 
It's not about how high you jump, but how you position yourself to possess the basketball 
The Lions have quietly outrebounded every single opponent through seven games. Their willingness to find and go after a loose ball on a miss shot for three-straight contest of grabbing more than 50 rebounds has launched them into the NCAA Division II top-10 in three categories. They rank second in rebound margin (16.6), fourth in defensive rebounds (33), and fifth for total rebounds per game (48.57) with each figure less than five off the leader. A front court presence of 5'10 Chasidee Owens (63), 6'3 Zoe Campbell(52), and 6'2 Jordan Schoenberger (48) have thought for 163 of the teams 340 rebounds with five double-digit stretches between the trio.
 
How many Transfers are we going to take before passing? FOUR!!! 
With eight players departing, the coaching staff mapped out the entire college basketball landscape in order to find four transfers and they did in the shape of 6'1 forward Laure Assena (Lipscomb University), 5'10 guard Chasidee Owens (Ouachita Baptist), 5'8 guard Destiny Cozart (John A. Logan), and 6'2 center Jordan Schoenberger (Independence CC).
 
Up Next
The Lions continue conference play by welcoming in Northeastern State for a matchup on Saturday at 1:30 pm before taking next week to prepare for a three-game stretch outside of MIAA competition to conclude the six-game home stand.

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