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Lion women take down No. 18 Drury 80-57

Jan. 2—SPRINGFIELD — The Missouri Southern women continue to be a thorn in the side of nationally ranked opponents and on Sunday the Lions proved it again with an 80-57 defeat of the No. 18 Drury Panthers in Springfield.

Southern (8-4) extended its winning streak to five games to close out 2023 by defeating two nationally ranked teams in the past couple of weeks. The Lions took care of No. 3 Central Missouri 78-66 on Dec. 14 in Warrensburg.

Southern's defense set the tone for the game, holding the Panthers scoreless as the Lions jumped out to an 18-0 lead to start the game.

MSSU led 22-10 at the end of the first quarter in a game where the Lion defense held Drury to its lowest point production of the season.

The Lions continued their dominance in the second quarter, outscoring Drury 25-19 to increase their lead to 47-29 at the half.

Drury had its best quarter in the third period and outscored Southern 18-14 to tighten the game at 61-47 going into the final period, but that was as close as they could come as MSSU outscored the Panthers 19-10 in the final frame to upset the Panthers.

The Lions tallied 12 steals and won the battle of the boards, snagging 43 rebounds to Drury's 32. Southern also was strong in the paint, outscoring the Panthers 42-20. The Lions scored 26 of their points off of turnovers.

Reese Webb logged four of the Lions' 12 steals and Kryslyn Jones, Katlin Hunnicutt and Mira Khan each had a pair of steals. Southern's rebounding was a team effort with Webb leading the way with seven. Ryan Franklin had six rebounds and Brandi Husdon, Maggie Sockey and Jones crashed the boards for five each.

Jones led the offensive attack for the Lions with 18 points. Hudson added 15 and Hunnicutt added 14 to give the Panthers their first back-to-back losses at home in a decade. Webb and Hudson had three assists each for Southern. The Lion bench had another strong showing, accounting for 31 of MSSU's points.

Southern's defense held Drury to 35.5% shooing, while scorching the nets with a 47.1 percentage.

Drury's Caitlynn Daniels logged more than half of the Panthers' points with a game-high 29. Beth Matas Martin chipped in 11 for Drury.

The Lions will have a chance to knock off another duo of ranked teams to open 2024 when they face No. 22 Pittsburg State (9-1) on Saturday at PSU and then host No. 16 Fort Hays State (9-1) on Thursday, Jan. 11, at Leggett & Platt.

The Southern men's basketball team (4-8), which last played on Dec. 16, also is back in action next weekend against PSU.