Jens knock off Missouri Western in MIAA Quarterfinals

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) – Overcoming a halftime deficit to take a double-digit lead with under five minutes to play, the 13th-ranked Central Missouri Jennies survived a 10-1 run from the Missouri Western Griffons to take a 54-53 victory in the quarterfinal round of the MIAA Tournament.
The Jennies advance to Saturday night’s semifinal, where they will face the winner of the Northeastern State-Fort Hays State matchup.
Junior guard BreAnna Lewis led the Jennies with 16 points, including a 3-for-8 performance from beyond the arc. Senior Nicole Caddell recorded her 11th double-double of the season, with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Keuna Flax battled foul trouble throughout the night, but was still able to come away with 13 points, including a 6-for-7 night from the free throw line.
Caddell gave UCM their first lead of the night, with the game’s first bucket at the 19:12 mark. The Griffons took a 3-2 edge just a minute later, and held it throughout the opening minutes. After MWSU jumped out to a 6-2 advantage, a pair of free throws from Flax, and a layup from Brielle Wattley tied the score; The Jens took a narrow 9-6 lead with 13:31 in the first half after three straight points from Caddell.
Both sides traded the lead back and forth eight times in the first half, but the Griffons closed the final five minutes before halftime with a 9-4 run, claiming a 30-27 lead at the break.
MWSU’s Heather Howard gave her team their biggest lead of the night just after the break, knocking down a three to make it a 33-27 Griffon lead with 18:19 to play. Wattley was able to cut the lead back down to three on the next possession, hitting a corner trey to make it a one-possession game once again. Over the next three minutes, the Jens climbed back to tie the score with a quick 5-0 run, making it 35-35 with 14:43 to play.
In a pivotal series, Lewis knocked down two three-pointers on back-to-back possessions, giving the Jennies the lead for good. Quinnecia Twine then joined in, hitting a three to cap off a 14-2 run for UCM, and giving the Jennies a 44-37 advantage with 12:07 on the clock.
A pair of free throws from Flax gave the Jens their biggest lead of the night, at 53-43 with 4:40 to play. The Jennies would score just one more point the rest of the way, as the Griffons climbed back. Missouri Western scored the final eight points of the game. Western’s JaQuitta Dever scored on a driving layup at the 2:58 mark to make it a one-possession game with 2:58 to play.
The Griffons finished the final three minutes shooting 2-for-5 from the free throw line, not including a made free throw that was called off due to a lane violation. Missouri Western had the ball for the final shot, and held looking to win with a buzzer-beater at the end; a corner three missed the mark as time expired, and the Jennies held on for the win.
The Jens increase their overall record to 23-4 on the year, and improve to 8-0 this year in games decided by five points or less. Their streak over Missouri Western extends to 11 games, the longest current winning streak over any MIAA foe.
Saturday’s semifinal matchup is set for 8:15 p.m., inside Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. The game can be found on 98.5 The Bar, 1450 KOKO, and online at Tickets are availiable, ticket information can be found at