Lincoln women fall just short to No. 8 Central Mo.

The Lincoln women’s basketball team had a chance to knock off the eighth-ranked team in the country.

The Blue Tigers could have used one more break.

Lincoln wasn’t able to get off the potential game-winning shot in the final seconds as No. 8 Central Missouri held on for a 71-70 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association win Wednesday night at Jason Gym.

Despite it being the ninth straight loss for the Blue Tigers, Lincoln coach Nicole Collier had reason to be optimistic.

“I told the girls if they show up like this the rest of the year, they’re going to win a lot more games,” Collier said. “They fought for 40 minutes.”

Central Missouri (15-2, 9-1) led 71-67 with 41 seconds to play, but Jennifer Rosado kept Lincoln’s hopes alive when she knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key to bring the Blue Tigers (3-13, 0-9) within one.

The Jennies turned the ball over on their next possession to give Lincoln a shot to win it with 25 seconds to play.

The Blue Tigers didn’t get that chance.

Instead, Lincoln was whistled for a charge with 4.4 seconds remaining and Central Missouri was able to run out the clock from there.

“We were going to pull it out, go for the last shot,” Collier said. “We went with 12 seconds to give us an opportunity to get an offensive rebound if we could.

“I thought it was a good drive and I thought there was contact that should have gone our way.”

Rosado scored 24 points, while Angela Randall added 18, and Hunter Yoakum chipped in with 11 to help lead the Blue Tigers, who were 24-of-54 from the field and 9-of-21 from behind the 3-point line.

After trading leads five times in the first half, Lincoln entered the locker room with a 39-34 advantage.

“We controlled the game the whole first half, I felt like,” Collier said. “There were times where we had some chaos, but I thought we controlled the game much better than we had before.”

The Blue Tigers continued to control the tempo in the second half.

Quiessence Price’s bucket with 12:22 left in the game capped off a 10-1 Lincoln run to give the Blue Tigers a 53-42 lead — their biggest of the night.

The Jennies had an awswer.

Central Missouri responded by going to MIAA scoring leader and All-American Keuna Flax, who scored 22 of her game-high 35 points in the final 12 minutes to help spark a 15-5 Central Missouri run that gave the Jennies a 63-58 lead with 4:34 left to play.

“They went to their moneymaker,” Collier said. “She came through for them. She’s an All-American; she’s a great player. She’s stronger than probably all five of our girls on the floor. She took them to the block and muscled them.

“We knew it was coming, it was just weather we could guard it or not. Obviously, we didn’t guard her that well.”

Central Missouri led by as many as five with just under three minutes to play, but the Blue Tigers got a spark when Jaleisha Barrett converted on a three-point play to keep Lincoln’s hopes alive.

It wasn’t enough.

“This is the most complete game I’ve seen us play,” Collier said. “We have lulls, where we go through a scoring drought or we let them go for a run and we don’t punch back. We shortened their runs and we attacked them more rather than sitting on our heels.”

Lincoln out-rebounded Central Missouri 40-34, but the Blue Tigers committed 19 turnovers compared to the Jennies’ 9.

BreAnna Lewis came off the bench to score 16 points and Revonnia Howard chipped in with 13 points to help lead Central Missouri, which was 25-of-61 from the field and 2-of-18 from behind the arc.

“Central is a team that can put up points in bunches,” Collier said. “Defensively, I thought we did a pretty good job of knowing who they were wanting to go to and who they were wanting to score the ball.”

The Blue Tigers will travel to Bolivar to take on Southwest Baptist in another MIAA contest at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

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