Posted: Feb 12, 2013 6:52 PM
Updated: Feb 13, 2013 11:14 AM
COLUMBIA -- The 15th-ranked Lady Cougar basketball team defeated American Midwest Conference (AMC) opponent Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) University 73-65 Tuesday night for their 17th consecutive victory. With the win, Columbia improves to 21-5 overall and remains undefeated in league play at 14-0.
After falling behind 24-12 in the opening 12 minutes of the contest, the Lady Cougars used a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to pull within two and eventually took a 31-29 lead into the locker room at halftime. Columbia struggled from the field in the first period, shooting just 23 percent, but hit 16 of 18 attempts from the free-throw line and outrebounded the Lady Trojans 21-16. Senior Julie Teeple led the Lady Cougars at the break with 11 points.
Hannibal-LaGrange continued to battle to start the second half, taking a 44-42 advantage with 14:12 to play. The Lady Cougars responded with a 10-2 run to take the lead for good and grabbed their biggest lead of the game at the 5:50 mark, 67-52. The Lady Trojans pulled within six at 71-65 with under a minute remaining, but would get no closer as time ran out. Columbia hit 12 of 31 attempts from the floor over the final 20 minutes to finish at 31 percent (19 of 61) for the game. The charity stripe proved to be an important factor in the outcome as the Lady Cougars connected on 31 of 38 tries (82 percent) from the line, compared to 11 of 16 (69 percent) for Hannibal-LaGrange. Columbia owned a 42-37 advantage on the glass, tying a season-high with 19 offensive rebounds.
Junior Heather English led three Lady Cougars in double figures with 17 points. Teeple added 16 points and Brooke Godsey chipped in 12. English and Teeple each finished with a team-high eight rebounds.
Ashleigh Spencer finished with a game-high 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Lady Trojans.
Columbia received 152 points in the NAIA Top 25 poll released earlier today. Fellow conference schools Lyon College (22-3, 12-1 AMC) and William Woods University (19-4, 10-3 AMC) joined the Lady Cougars in the rankings, checking in at 20th and 23rd respectively. Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) University earned six first place votes to claim the No. 1 spot, followed by Oklahoma City University, Lubbock Christian (Texas) University, Westminster (Utah) College, and Cumberland (Tenn.) University.
Columbia returns to action on Thursday, February 14th when travel to AMC foe Missouri Baptist University. The Lady Cougars defeated the Spartans 92-75 in the two teams' first meeting of the year on January 17th. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. in St. Louis, Mo.