ST. JOSEPH — Missouri Western gave the No. 18 Jennies a wake-up call on Saturday, Feb. 8, going on a 19-0 run in the first quarter to hand Central Missouri its first loss since Nov. 29, 67-57.
“We knew this was going to be a tough game,” Central Missouri coach Dave Slifer said. “Obviously, we are disappointed with how the game started. They attacked us and we didn’t handle it well at all. Eight turnovers in a quarter and only get up nine shots, you deserve to lose.”
Central Missouri scored the opening points of the ball game, taking a 2-0 lead — the Jennies only lead of the afternoon.
UCM went without a basket for the next seven minutes, 56 seconds, missing six shots during the stretch while committing seven turnovers.
“The turnovers were just ridiculous and that can’t happen,” Slifer said.
Missouri Western took advantage rattling off 19-unanswered points. Ellisha Davis ended the drought with a jumper with 1:51 left in the frame.
Nija Collier added a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 13, 19-6, but the damage was done.
“If we had done anything offensively in the first quarter, instead of 19-6, it’s 19-14 and you just play down five,” Slifer said. “Down 13 is a different beast than that.”
Missouri Western stretched its lead out to 20 in the second frame before UCM reeled it back to 13 by half, 38-25.
“It felt like it was a 13-point game the whole time, we couldn’t get over the 13-point hump,” Slifer said.
Central Missouri managed to break the Griffons lead down to single digits, 43-34, on a Collier layup early in the third quarter.
Katrina Roenfeldt, who finished with 17 points, answered with one of her five 3-pointers of the contest to put Missouri Western back up by double-figures, where it would stay until the fourth quarter.
UCM got back to a nine-point deficit with back-to-back 3-pointers by Megan Skaggs to make it a 56-47 with 8:38 remaining.
“We just said, Meg come on, I don’t care if you aren’t feeling it, you will,” Slifer said.
Skaggs finished 17 points on 3 of 10 shooting from deep and 7 of 18 overall.
The Jennies trimmed the deficit down to six with 90 seconds left, but couldn’t get any closer.
Central Missouri finished 20 of 53 from the field and got outrebounded 38-33 while only hauling in 11 offensive boards.
“We had a hard time getting offensive rebounds and we still got some, but anytime you shoot it like we do, you have to rely on the offensive rebounds to carry it and we couldn’t do it,”
Collier finished a rebound shy of another double-double, leading the Jennies with 20 points and nine rebounds.
The loss ends Central Missouri’s 15-game win streak and hands the Jennies their first conference loss, putting them at 18-4 overall and 12-1 in the MIAA.
“I took the blame and said ya know what, we all love winning 15 in a row, we were all getting fat and sassy with it and now let’s get back to the grindstone and figure out how to make this team never lose again,” Slifer said.
Central Missouri hosts Fort Hays State on Thursday, Feb. 13, and Nebraska-Kearney on Saturday, Feb. 15, with a chance to put a stranglehold on the MIAA regular season title.
Tip-off against the Tigers is set for 5:30 p.m.