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Western women claim share of conference title

Feb. 25—With a little help, No. 21 Missouri Western women's basketball claimed its first MIAA regular season title since 2016 on Saturday.

Step one in securing at least a share of the conference crown was taking care of business against Northwest Missouri State, a team Western had already defeated in mid-January.

The Griffon women did just that, as they would defeat the Bearcats in more lopsided fashion than the first meeting by a score of 67-44. Senior Brionna Budgetts led the charge in scoring with 17 points for Western on a season-high field goals, as well as a season-high two blocks on the defensive end.

The other moving part in order for Western to claim the MIAA title was completely out of its hands. As Missouri Southern was still on the Griffons' heels in the MIAA standings, a timely loss to Fort Hays State on Saturday afternoon would be exactly what the doctor ordered if the Tigers were able to get it done.

It took double overtime, but Fort Hays State would go on to defeat the Lions 85-81 behind four Tigers scoring in double digits.

The first MIAA regular season title for Western since 2016 is also the first under head coach Candi Whitaker, who has also taken the Griffon women to a NCAA Division II Elite Eight in her tenure.

The Griffon women had already locked up their spot in the MIAA Women's Basketball Championships, but with the conference title under their belt, it's likely they will have the one seed when the tournament comes around. Claiming the MIAA title outright will require Western to win just one of its final two regular season games against either Newman or Pittsburg State.

Jacob Meikel can be reached at jacob.meikel@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @NPNowMeikel.