Lincoln women's basketball coach Nicole Collier didn't sugarcoat the Blue Tigers' loss on Saturday.
Mainly because she's seen the same scenario play out too many times this season
Lincoln fell behind early, and despite a late comeback, the Blue Tigers couldn't recover as Southwest Baptist held on to claim a 68-55 win in a Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association matchup at Jason Gym.
"It's definitely frustrating," Collier said. "Consistency is our issue... it's a disgusting pattern."
Lincoln (4-19, 1-15) needed to win its last four regular-season games and get some help from the rest of the league to have a chance at making the MIAA Tournament.
The Blue Tigers didn't do their part.
"I don't think they believed we could do it," Collier said. "If they did, I don't think we would have nights like this."
In terms of making the postseason, Southwest Baptist (9-13, 5-10) was in a similar position. The Bearcats, who also needed to win their last four games, looked like they were on a mission from the start.
Southwest Baptist jumped out to a 17-4 lead with 14:35 left in the first half, while holding the Blue Tigers to two field goals on six attempts and forcing six turnovers during that span.
It was the kind of hole Lincoln has put itself in before and one the Blue Tigers have struggled to get out of all season.
"I think it's nearly impossible for us as a group," Collier said. "I think other teams can do it, but we can't do it."
Lincoln, which is 0-16 when trailing at halftime, was just 8-of-24 from the field and committed 12 turnovers as the Bearcats took a 36-18 advantage into the second half.
The Bearcats led by as many as 23 with 12:55 left in the game, but Lincoln didn't throw in the towel - another theme for the Blue Tigers this season.
Hunter Yoakum scored 15 points in a six-minute stretch to spark a 22-11 run to pull Lincoln within 10 and give the Blue Tigers some hope with seven minutes remaining.
"It's a two-part deal," Collier said. "Yes, it's nice to see it - that was great. Why can't we get it in the first half?
"Hunter is a kid with a lot of weapons, and as soon as she figures out how to use them, she's going to be pretty deadly. She's playing well for a freshman. What you saw today in the second half is kind of what I was hoping would show up all the time."
Yoakum finished with a game-high 22 points after going 9-of-13 from the field, but it wasn't enough to complete the comeback for the Blue Tigers, who lost their third straight.
Southwest Baptist responded with a 7-2 run to take a 65-50 lead with 2:46 to play as the Bearcats went on to secure their sweep against Lincoln and pick up their first road win this season.
Lincoln was 24-of-54 (44 percent) from the field, while Southwest Baptist was 22-of-52 (42 percent).
The difference-maker was the Bearcats' ability to get to the free-throw line. Southwest Baptist was 19-of-28 from the charity stripe, while Lincoln was just 4-of-8.
"Every other (stat) was comparable except for free throws," Collier said. "That means we're not making the right read. That's something we've been working on. We play a lot of one-on-one instead of taking what the defense gives us. In turn, you get contested shots; you get charges when you don't read the defense."
Angela Randall scored 10 points while pulling down a team-high six rebounds and dishing out five assists to lead the Blue Tigers, who were out-rebounded 38-31. Quiessense Price finished with nine points, while leading scorer Jennifer Rosado was held to just five points on 2-of-10 shooting.
Brook Duncan tallied 18 points, while Jacqui Zelenka finished with 16 to lead Southwest Baptist, which scored 18 points off 18 Lincoln turnovers.
With their tournament hopes depleted, the Blue Tigers will try to end the season on a high note.
Lincoln will host Missouri Western on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., before traveling to Lindenwood on Feb. 22. The Blue Tigers will
close out the year at home against Missouri Southern on March 1.
"Two of the three, I would like to say we could get," Collier said. "If we play like we did today, we're not beating anybody. I won't sugar coat it and I won't sugar coat it to them.
"You have to be driven for an end result to compete. That's my thought. I want to compete. I want to win."