KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Missouri Western Athletics) – Missouri Western (14-15) put together one of its best defensive performances of the season in the first round of the MIAA Championships, holding Nebraska-Kearney (15-14) to just 47 points in an eight-point victory on Wednesday.
After Nebraska-Kearney jumped out to an early 4-2 lead, the Griffons rolled to a 14-0 run and held a 16-6 lead going into the second quarter.
Missouri Western continued its aggressive defensive play in the second, holding the Lopers to just 10 points in the quarter.
The Griffons allowed just 16 points in the first half, as the Lopers were held to 25 percent shooting.
Melia Richardson paced the Missouri Western offense in the first half with 10 points.
After Nebraska-Kearney pulled within seven with under three minutes left in the final quarter, Katrina Roenfeldt drilled a three-pointer to extend the Missouri Western lead back to double-digits.
Nebraska-Kearney's Elisa Backes made a three-pointer of her own with just 21 seconds remaining, cutting the Griffon lead to just four at 51-47.
Missouri Western made all of its final six free-throw attempts to earn the 55-47 first-round win.
The 47 points allowed by the Griffons is the team's second-best mark of the season.
Nebraska-Kearney had a significant rebounding advantage on Wednesday, outrebounding the Griffons 46-29.
Missouri Western forced 18 Nebraska-Kearney turnovers, while the Griffons finished with only 8.
The Griffons' 30 points scored off turnovers accounted for over half of their offense.
Richardson led all scorers with 15 points. The MIAA All-Defensive Team selection also recorded a career-high six steals in the win and played all 40 minutes.
Brittany Atkins led the Griffons with eight rebounds while also scoring 12 points.
Roenfeldt added 11 points, five boards, and four steals.
Missouri Western will take on top-seeded Fort Hays State (27-1) in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
The Tigers topped the Griffons 67-50 in the teams' only meeting this season.