By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
Missouri Western forced 30 turnovers and the Griffon women's basketball team dominated in a 73-49 win over Central Oklahoma on Saturday at the MWSU Fieldhouse in St. Joseph.
Missouri Western (13-4, 8-3 MIAA) outscored UCO 22-8 in the second quarter and led 37-14 by halftime.
Central Oklahoma (4-14, 3-9 MIAA), trailing 56-25 at the start of the fourth, made a late push and got back to within 17 points, but Missouri Western drained five three-pointers in the fourth to put the game on ice.
Brionna Budgets dropped a season-high 21 points on a 5-of-15 effort from beyond the arc. Connie Clarke was outstanding with 17 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, seven steals and two blocks. Mary Fultz had 12 points and five rebounds.
Tiani Ellison came off the bench for 10 points and six rebounds.
Missouri Western's defense was particularly potent, as the Griffons forced 30 turnovers and scored 40 points off of those. Missouri nabbed 16 steals and held UCO to 34 percent shooting.
The Missouri Western women are now 8-1 at home and have won eight of their last nine games.
The Griffons remain tied with Central Missouri and Fort Hays State for second place in the MIAA with an 8-3 league record.
Candi Whitaker interview
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Griffon men block go-ahead shot from Jaden Wells, fend off Bronchos
Missouri Western used an 11-0 second half run to grab a late lead and the Griffons blocked a go-ahead shot from Central Oklahoma's Jaden Wells to eek out a 57-56 win over the Bronchos at the MWSU Fieldhouse Saturday.
UCO (14-6, 6-6 MIAA) led 48-42 with 9:31 to play, but would not score again until there was 2:47 remaining.
Missouri Western (14-3, 8-3 MIAA) led 57-52 with 51 seconds left after a huge jumper by Zion Swader, but the Bronchos got back to within one points after a couple of layups by Wells.
Missouri Western was put on the line for a one-and-one with six seconds left, but Taye Fields missed the first free throw and Wells rebounded.
Wells went up the floor himself and tried for a step-back bunny at the buzzer, but he was blocked by Fields.
Wells led UCO with a game-high 24 points. JaRon Thames led Missouri Western with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Swader had another strong showing with 13 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists.
Justin Bubak came off the bench with six points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
The Griffons outrebounded UCO 41-30 and held the Bronchos to 36.4 percent shooting (20-of-55). Missouri Western also benefitted from eight missed free throws by UCO (12-of-20).
The game featured 10 lead changes and five ties. UCO held a lead for 15 minutes, while MWSU led for a little more than 20.
Missouri Western's win streak is now six games, as they get their first win over UCO in St. Joseph since 2016. At 8-3 in the league, the Griffons are just a half-game out of first place in the MIAA.
Missouri Western is on the road to face Lincoln University in Jefferson City Wednesday. The women's game starts at 5:30, the men's at 7:30. Both games are on KFEQ Radio (680, 95.3).
Will Martin, Justin Bubak interview
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