Curry, Davis push top-seeded Griffons past Gorillas

Missouri Western 86, Pittsburg State 66 -- Box Score

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The tandem of junior F/G Ashleigh Curry and senior G Tiffany Davis helped top-seeded Missouri Western roll past eighth-seeded Pittsburg State, 86-66, in the opening game of the MIAA Womenms Basketball Championships Friday afternoon (March 2) at Municipal Auditorium.

The Griffons (28-2) will face Northwest Missouri State in the semifinals Saturday (March 3) at 6 p.m.

Curry made her first six shots in the game, four of which were three-point goals, as she helped MWSU build a 33-16 lead with 9:19 left in the opening half. She scored 20 of her game-high 22 points in the first half.

Meanwhile, Davis was piling up the assists q she tied the MIAA Tournament record for a game by halftime by getting 14 -- five of which set up Curry buckets.

All of that helped add up to a 58-30 halftime lead for the Griffons -- Western tied the tournament mark for points in a first half set by Emporia State against Southwest Baptist in the semifinals of 2000.

PSU (11-16) shot just 10-of-38 shots from the field in the first half (26.3 percent), and missed seven shots in a row during a 15-0 run which pushed the Griffons to a 30-point lead before a layup by senior G Anna Nimz with three seconds remaining broke the spell.

The only drama in the second half was if Davis could surpass the tournament record of 14 assists set in 1989 by Central Missourims Cathy Hagenbaumer against Northwest Missouri State in the semifinals.

It happened on a bucket by Curry with 18:14 left which gave Western its largest lead of the game, 66-31, and would be her only helper of the second half as she finished the game with 15.

Curry added six rebounds and three steals for MWSU. Junior G Yanique Javois added 15 points while senior C Inga Buzoka tossed in 14 points with seven rebounds. Senior G Chemia Woods just missed a double-double with nine points and a team-best eight boards.

Western played without junior F Jill Johnson, who suffered an arm injury in an auto accident Wednesday (Feb. 28) in St. Joseph and is out indefinitely.

Senior G Nikki Pierce led the Gorillas with 14 points in her final collegiate game. Junior F Janelle Klein and freshman F Marissa Poppe each had 10 points, while junior F Candice Gilbert just missed a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds.

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Northwest Missouri State 77, Missouri Southern 54 -- Box Score

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The fourth-seeded Northwest Missouri State Bearcats advanced to the semifinals of the MIAA Women's Basketball Championship with a 77-54 victory over the No. 5 seed Missouri Southern Lions Friday afternoon (March 2) at Municipal Auditorium.

The Lions (14-13) held a 14-9 advantage at the 13:45 mark of the opening half, with junior F Tynesha Pierce accounting for 10 points in the early going, including the team's first nine. She wouldn't score again the remainder of the half.

A 20-5 outburst in the first half sent the Bearcats (18-10) to their first double-digit lead, 32-22, with 7:30 left in the half. Northwest was 4-of-7 from long range during the outburst, with senior F Katie O'Grady making a pair.

After Southern had narrowed the gap to seven with 3:51 remaining, the Bearcats scored eight of the next nine points to take a 44-30 lead with 2:14 left. Northwest would go on to hold a 46-34 halftime lead.

Neither team scored in the second half until Pierce's bucket for MSSU with 2:37 gone to cut the Northwest advantage to 10. Back-to-back two-pointer by junior G Kelli Nelson followed by a trey by sophomore G Meghan Brue gave the Bearcats more breathing space which lasted the remainder of the game.

Southern could draw no closer to Northwest than 13 points from there.

O'Grady led the Bearcats with 14 points in a reserve role. Brue had 12 points and seven rebounds while sophomore F Lindsay Bayer scored 11 points and Nelson chipped in 10. Junior G April Miller had nine rebounds and eight assists in just missing an unusual double-double.

Pierce was the only Lions player in double-figure scoring with 20 points and nine rebounds. Freshman G Karina Kuczynski had five of Southern's 10 assists, while junior C Fatai Hala'api'api added eight points and eight rebounds off the bench.

-- MIAA --


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