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MSSU women battle veteran Lindenwood club

Joplin Globe - 1/3/2019

Jan. 03--As the No. 9 seed, Lindenwood made a run to the MIAA Postseason Tournament championship by winning four games, including one over eventual national champion Central Missouri.

The bad news for the MIAA: Many of those players are back.

"They return nine or 10 kids off last year's team," Missouri Southern coach Ronnie Ressel said. "Kallie Bildner (6-foot-3 junior) is back, averaging a double-double (17.2 points, 10.0 rebounds) and shooting around 65 or 70 percent. They have quality players at every position and are about two-deep at every position. They don't drop off a whole lot when they substitute.

"And it seems like they can all shoot from the perimeter this year, which they didn't do last year. They are shooting extremely well from the perimeter. That makes it tough on defense how we guard them. We have to play with a lot of effort and energy for sure."

Lindenwood (8-1, 2-0 MIAA) has lost only at No. 9 Drury 76-43 on Nov. 23. It's averaging 73.9 points per game and allowing 62.6 and has won its last four games, most recently 84-60 over Quincy on Dec. 17.

Missouri Southern (9-3, 1-1) also has won its last four games and nine of its last 10. They only loss was 79-60 at home against Central Oklahoma one month ago.

Since returning from Christmas break, the Lions have beaten Tabor 77-57 on Dec. 29.

"We played pretty well defensively after the first five or six minutes," Ressel said. "And we shot it pretty well for a complete game. I'm pleased about that. Our practices the last couple of days have been good, energetic, focused."

Senior guard Chelsey Henry leads the MSSU attack at 16.2 points per game and is the newest member of the program's 1,000-point club. She is fourth in the conference scoring race and fifth in field-goal shooting at 44.1 percent.

Junior Chasidee Owens contributes 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds, and sophomore Krista Clark is just below double-digit scoring at 9.6.

MSSU averages 68.6 points compared with its opponents' 63.7 percent while Lindenwood scores 73.9 points and allows 62.6. Both teams are strong on the boards, with Lindenwood holding a 12.9 rebounding advantage and MSSU a 12.1 advantage. In addition, both teams have had problems with turnovers. MSSU is negative 5.3 in turnover margin while Lindenwood is minus 4.6.

"We have to take care of the ball against their pressure," Ressel said. "They get out and pressure the ball, try to deny things and take you out of your offense. We have to be strong with the ball, make sure we make good decisions and execute our offense.

"Another big thing is transition defense. We have to be able to change ends and be able to guard. They can all shoot it, and they can all get to the basket. They like to spread you out and push the ball."

Probable lineups

Mo. Southern (9-3, 1-1 MIAA)

Pts.

C Jordan Schoenberger, 6-2 jr. 6.3

G Amber Buch, 5-7 fr. 6.8

G Chelsey Henry, 5-10 sr. 16.2

G Chasidee Owens, 5-10 jr. 10.5

G Krista Clark, 5-10 so. 9.6

Lindenwood (8-1, 2-0 MIAA)

F Kallie Bildner, 6-3 jr. 17.2

G Charisse Williams, 5-8 sr. 7.9

G Kylie Ferguson, 6-9 sr. 5.9

G Lindsay Medlen, 5-8 jr. 9.0

G Lexie Moe, 5-9 sr. 8.2

Game Notes

Tipoff: 5:30 p.m.

Site: Hyland Arena, St. Charles

Coaches: Ronnie Ressel, 3rd year at MSSU (32-37). Katie Falco, 1st year at LU (8-1).

Series: MSSU leads 11-3 after winning both regular-season games last season 78-75 at home and 71-65 on the road, but LU won at MSSU 79-67 in the first round of the MIAA Postseason Tournament, its first step toward the tourney title.

Radio: WMBH (1560 AM, 101.3 FM), KXMS (88.7 FM), 5:10 p.m.

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