Pittsburg, Kan. – Getting a key jumper from Erin Rice with a minute left and converting clutch free throws down the stretch, the Missouri Southern Lions women’s basketball team defeated Pittsburg State 62-57 Wednesday at John Lance Arena.

Outscoring the Gorillas 26-20 in the paint, the Lions (13-12, 7-10) were led in scoring by their two post players Dominique Mosley and Shonte Clay, who finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Rice, Nicole Hartzog and Jolee Sharp each chipped in eight points. The Gorillas (17-8, 11-6) were led in scoring by MIAA leading scorer Lizzy Jeronimus with 17 points, while Drew Roberts added 12.

The Lions would get off to a great start jumping out to an early 6-0 lead thanks to layups from Samantha Soyez, Rice and Clay, but the Gorillas would quickly answer with a 7-0 run of their own to take a one-point lead after six minutes.  The Lions would answer with another 6-0 run thanks to a trio of layups from Clay, Hartzog and Mosley to take their largest lead of the first half at 12-7.

The Gorillas would again respond with a 6-0 run, before the Lions would counter with a three-pointer from Sharp and a layup from Mosley would help the Lions re-gain a four point lead (17-13). A first half of many runs would see another one as the Gorillas would respond with a 10-2 run to take a four-point lead of their own, before the Lions would score the final six points of half, including a Rice-jumper with five seconds remaining in the half to take a 25-23 lead into halftime.

With the Gorillas taking a five-point lead through the first three minutes of the second half thanks to a 9-2 run, the Lions would respond with a 15-6 over the next eight minutes to take a four-point lead (42-38) thanks to a three-pointer from Sharp and a combined nine points from Clay and Mosley. With nine minutes to play, the Lions would continue to lead before Jeronimus would hit one of two free throws to cut the Lions lead to one (53-52).

Coming out of a timeout with 1:10 remaining, the Lions would get the ball to Rice in the middle of the lane, where she would convert a jumper to give the Lions a three-point lead. Taking a six-point lead thanks to key free throws from Tee Singletonand Hartzog, the Gorillas would hit a three-pointer with 0:14 seconds remaining to close the gap to three (60-57), but Sharp would hit a final pair to seal the Lions first victory over the Gorillas in the last six meetings.

Getting their first win in Pittsburg since 2009, the Lions outrebounded the Gorillas 48-33, including getting 17 offensive boards. Four different Lions would have at least six rebounds, led by Rice with nine, while getting eight from Mosley, including five offensive. Southern would shoot 22-of-59 (37.3%) from the field, while hitting 16-of-21 from the free throw line, going 7-of-8 in the final minute.

The Lions return to action Saturday afternoon when they wrap up the regular season at Central Oklahoma at 1:30 p.m.