Central Missouri hung tight with No. 1 Drury all night long, but came up just short in the end 57-54. The loss puts the Jennies at 3-3 on the season.
In a low scoring game, neither team got off to a very hot start. With five minutes remaining, the Panthers led by one, 3-2. Things opened up a bit more as the game progressed and the Panthers took a five-point lead, 9-4 with just under three to play. The Jennies outscored Drury 6-2 in the final 1:54 of the quarter and trailed by one, 11-10 after one.
At the end of the half, things hadn’t changed and UCM still trailed by one, 27-26. The 16 points for each team was their most in any quarter.
UCM held a few brief leads in the second, including with under one minute left on a Morgan VanHyfte layup, but the Panthers answered with 37 seconds to play and took a lead into the half.
Drury pushed the lead to five a handful of times in the third, but the Jennies weren’t going down quietly. Gigi McAtee made a pair of free throws with 1:13 left to keep the Jennies within one possession after three, 42-39.
Morgan Fleming started the scoring in the third with a three and the Jens scored the first seven points in the fourth for a 46-42 lead. After a jumper by McAtee, the Jens still led by four, 52-48 with 3:22 left to play. Drury tied the game with four free throws, and took the lead for good on a steal and three-pointer. Trailing by one 55-54, the Jennies had a chance to tie or take the lead in the closing seconds. Ellisha Davis missed a layup, but UCM got the rebound. With one last possession, UCM didn’t get a foul call their way when Gigi McAtee was bumped and lost the ball and Drury escaped with the win.
Neither team led by more than five at any point in the game which saw eight ties and eight lead changes.
The Jennies defense held Drury to just 34% shooting and 3-16 from three while UCM hit 47.5% from the floor.
Central Missouri out-rebounded Drury, 32-31, but the Panthers came down with 19 offensive rebounds and scored 16 second-chance points.
The Drury press forced UCM into 28 turnovers and they turned those in 25 points. Drury turned the ball over 16 times themselves and committed seven more fouls — 22-15.
Both teams made 14 free throws with the Jennies going 14-16 at the line.
Nija Collier led the Jens with 15 points and eight rebounds. She was 5-8 from the field and 5-6 at the line.
Kim Crown came off the bench to score 10 points with six rebounds. She made all four of her free throws and was 3-4 from the floor.
Megan Skaggs added nine points and three rebounds.
Ellisha Davis scored five points with three steals and three rebounds.
The Jennies have held their first six opponents to less than 60 points, something they hadn’t done since the 1972-73 season.
All-time UCM is 2-5 against Drury.