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LU hosts Truman in final MIAA basketball meeting

It’s the end of an era.

With Truman State leaving the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association after this season, today will mark the final trip to Jason Gym for its men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Truman State, one of the founding members when the league began in 1912, is leaving after this school year to join the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

The school’s farewell tour hits Lincoln today, with the women’s-men’s doubleheader getting started at 1:30 p.m.

In women’s action, Lincoln faces an important situation, needing a win to get them closer to clinching a spot in the MIAA Tournament.

Out of the league’s 15 teams, 12 teams earn berths in the tourney, and Lindenwood is automatically ineligible since the school is in its transition year from the NAIA to the NCAA. That will leave just two others on the outside looking in, and Lincoln doesn’t want to be one of those two.

The first round of the tournament is held March 4-5 at on-campus sites, as the No. 9 seed plays at No. 8, No. 12 plays at No. 5, No. 11 plays at No. 6 and No. 10 plays at No. 7.

The four winners then meet seeds 1-4 in the single-elimination tournament held March 7-10 at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.

The Lincoln women (10-13 overall, 5-10 MIAA) currently sit in the 11th spot in the league standings, but could finish as high as eighth, thus getting to host a first-round game.

The teams have already met once this season, with Truman capturing a 73-51 win Jan. 3 in Kirksville.

Becka McHenry is a do-it-all player for the Bulldogs (18-5, 11-4), as she leads them in scoring (13.0 points per game), rebounding (5.7) and assists (3.8). Allie Norton, the daughter of University of Missouri assistant women’s coach Randy Norton, averages 11.1 points per game.

Three Lincoln players average double digits in scoring — Arriana Walker (14.3), Freddie Sims (13.4) and Dahlia Booker (11.5). Walker is also averaging 5.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game.

Alicia averages a team-high 7.2 rebounds for the Blue Tigers.

The Lincoln men face a much tougher task than the women when it comes to making the conference tournament.

Sitting in last place in the league, the Blue Tigers (3-22, 2-13) have to win out and then hope for the teams in front of them to falter down the stretch.

Truman (8-15, 5-10) is currently sitting in the 12th and final spot with three games left to play.

The Bulldogs are led by Mike Carlson, who is averaging team highs in both points (16.7) and rebounds (6.7). Tom Norton, Allie Norton’s brother, is averaging 12.8 points, while Seth Jackson adds 11.6 points.

Lincoln’s Cedric Ridle Jr. leads the MIAA with an average of 20.6 ppg and he is currently second on the team with 6.2 rpg.

Charles Cole averages 15.0 points and a team-best 7.4 rebounds per game.

Lincoln will wrap up its home schedule with a men’s-women’s twinbill Wednesday against Lindenwood that will serve as Senior Night.

The women’s game will start at 5:30 p.m., with the men to follow at 7:30 p.m.

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