Thanks to some hustle on the glass and crucial execution, the Emporia State women upset top-seeded Missouri Western 85-74 in the semifinals of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association tournament Saturday at Municipal Auditorium.
After the game, there was not much celebration. Emporia State, seeded fourth, was happy with the victory, but the team has a larger goal this weekend.
“I don’t know that it matters,” Emporia State coach Jory Collins said of the significance of the win. “We’re in a three-game tournament, and they’re the second team that we’re playing and we’re just trying to get to the championship game.”
Emporia State — which has won three straight conference tournament titles — will face No. 2 seed Pittsburg State in the championship at 1 p.m. Sunday.
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Leading the charge on Saturday for Emporia State was Kelly Moten, whose 23 points led all scorers. Moten’s ability to control the flow of the game as the point guard and slow down LaQuinta Jefferson, Missouri Western’s best player, made for an important combination.
“I think it was a big emphasis,” Moten said of attacking the Griffons on offense. “I think the other thing that was good was getting the scouting report correct, playing defense and making sure we’re playing up to our potential and executing our plays.”
The big swing in momentum came with about 4 minutes left in the second quarter. Both teams got into a skirmish near the free-throw line that resulted in a double-technical foul.
This was the start of three technical fouls for Missouri Western, something that coach Rob Edmisson was discouraged to see from his team.
“I’ve done a poor job of making sure my kids understand on how to hold their composure,” he said. “ As a coach, I have to do a better job.”
Emporia State, meanwhile, was able to move on after the incident.
“We’ve been in this situation before, and our team knows how to keep our composure,” said forward Kathryn Flott. “We got some upperclassmen that know how to handle it.”
Flott finished with with 16 points and 10 rebounds for Emporia State. Sandra Ngoie also had 16 points, while Addie Lackey chipped in 14.
Miliakere Koyamainavure’s 19 points led the Griffons. Sarafina Handy ended up with 16 points for Missouri Western, and Jefferson finished with 12.
Pittsburg State 90, Fort Hays State 74
In the first semifinal of the day, Pittsburg State had an impressive showing, knocking down a tournament-record 16 three-pointers.
The Gorillas are on a 15-game winning streak.
Mikaela Burgess made four threes and led the Gorillas with 21 points. Paige Lungwitz finished with 17 points for Pitt State, and Hayden Herlocker added 15 points and seven assists.
Northwest Missouri men 69, Fort Hays State 51
Top-seeded Northwest Missouri broke open the game with a 23-8 run in the first half. MIAA player of the year Justin Pitts scored 20 points and had nine assists for the Bearcats.
Northwest Missouri will face No. 2 seed Nebraska-Kearney in Sunday’ championship at 3:30 p.m.
Nebraska-Kearney 80, Missouri Southern 61
Second-seeded Nebraska Kearney advanced to today’s championship game behind 35 points and 13 rebounds from Connor Beranek. Nebraska-Kearney had been knocked out of the MIAA tournament the previous two seasons by Missouri Southern.
MIAA basketball tournaments
At Municipal Auditorium
Saturday’s women’s semifinals
(2) Pittsburg State 90, (3) Fort Hays State 74
(4) Emporia State 85, (1) Missouri Western 74
Saturday’s men’s semifinals
(2) Nebraska-Kearney 80, (3) Missouri Southern 61 .
(1) Northwest Missouri 69,(4) Fort Hays State 51
Women: (2) Pittsburg State vs. (4) Emporia State winner, 1 p.m.
Men: (1) Northwest Missouri vs. (2) Nebraska-Kearney, 3:30 p.m.