WARRENSBURG, Mo. - The Lincoln Blue Tigers are clinging to the final berth in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Tournament with four games to play.
The Lincoln women didn't help their case with a 77-62 loss to Central Missouri on Saturday afternoon.
With Nebraska Kearney losing to Fort Hays State, however, Lincoln remains a half-game ahead of the Lopers for 12th place. If the teams tie for the final spot, Nebraska Kearney would advance courtesy of a head-to-head victory against Lincoln.
Central Missouri was in control from start to finish Saturday. BreAnna Lewis knocked down a 3-pointer 43 seconds into the game to give the Jennies the early 3-0 lead. They led the entire contest.
Central Missouri took its first double-digit lead at 23-12 with 7:23 to play in the first half. Lincoln followed with a basket to get the lead back to single digits, but the Jennies went right back up by 11 and held a double-digit advantage the remainder of the game. The score was 34-22 at halftime. Central Missouri led by as many as 21 points at 72-51.
Arriana Walker paced Lincoln with 13 points, although she shot just 4-of-17 to get there. Freddie Sims added 12 and Andrea Rhoiney and Roni Jefferson had 10 apiece. Lincoln shot just 27.6 percent (21-of-76) from the floor in the game.
Keuna Flax starred for Central Missouri with 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting. She also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Lewis tallied 22 points for the Jennies (21-2, 13-2 MIAA). Central Missouri shot 46.6 percent (27-for-58) from the field.
Lincoln (9-13, 4-10 MIAA) travels Tuesday to Southwest Baptist (10-13, 5-10 MIAA) for a 5:30 p.m. matchup.
The Lincoln men's postseason hopes are just about dead.
Following Saturday afternoon's 93-61 loss to MIAA-leading Central Missouri, the Blue Tigers sit three games out of a playoff spot with four games left to play.
Lincoln (3-21, 2-12) likely needs to win its next four games to have a shot at making the MIAA Tournament. For a team with just three wins on the season, that appears to be a far-fetched goal.
Central Missouri (17-6, 11-4) took it to Lincoln for the second time in the Blue Tigers' last four games. The Mules walloped Lincoln 111-72 on Jan. 30 at Jason Gym. Central Missouri mustered a measly 93 points this time around.
It wasn't much of a challenge for Central Missouri. The Mules raced out to a lead, never trailed and went ahead 46-28 at halftime. The final score was the game's largest margin.
The Mules hit 48.5 percent of their shot attempts (33-for-68) and 50 percent of their 3-point attempts (10-for-20). Lincoln, meanwhile, made just 30.9 percent of their shots (21-for-68) and 26.9 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc (7-for-26).
Five Mules scored in double figures, led by Dominique Long's 19 points. Widgett Washington tallied 13 points, Alex Dean had 12 and Lance Beckwith and Ryan Magdziarz both added 11. Dean also pulled down 11 rebounds.
Once again, Cedric Ridle Jr. was the only bright spot for Lincoln. The MIAA's leading scorer tossed in 29 points on 11-of-24 from the field. Montez Fifer contributed 11 points and Charles Cole pulled down 12 rebounds.
Lincoln takes on Southwest Baptist at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Bolivar.