BATESVILLE, Ark. (LyonScots.com) – American Midwest Conference Female Player of the Week Debbie Onukwube scored 12 of her team-high 18 points in the second half as she led the red-hot Lyon College women's basketball team to its seventh consecutive win and 14 in its last 15 games Tuesday night with a 77-52 whipping of Missouri Baptist University in an AMC matchup in James C. Becknell Gymnasium.
The win, combined with 15th-ranked Columbia College's (21-5) 73-65 win over Hannibal-LaGrange Tuesday night in Columbia, keeps the Scots in control of their own destiny in the battle for the top seed for the upcoming postseason conference tournament. No. 20-ranked Lyon is now 13-1 in league play, while the Cougars are one game in front at 14-0. Both teams have four conference games remaining, including a showdown between them on Saturday in Columbia at 2 p.m.
Lyon College (23-3) set another program record on Tuesday, claiming the team's 23rd victory of the season. The Scots led 35-28 at the half, mostly by holding the Spartans (10-16, 7-7 AMC) to only 38.5% (10-of-26)shooting in the first 20 minutes. But in the second half it was LC that turned on the offensive afterburners, scorching the nets for 65.4% (17-of-26), while holding MBU to 29% (9-of-31) and outrebounding the Spartans in the game, 39-28.
Onukwube, the Lyon senior who claimed her second AMC Player of the Week honor this week, finished the night by hitting 7-of-10 from the field for 18 points, to go with four rebounds to lead the Scots' charge. Senior Phagen Altom dropped in 5-of-8 field goals for 11 points, to go along with eight assists – six of which came in the second half.
Taylor Grigg came off the Lyon bench to add 11 points and three rebounds, Christine Smith dropped in 10, to go along with three steals and two assists, and Suzanne Fincham grabbed 10 boards, scored seven points and tallied two assists. Gabby Jenkins also contributed to the cause in a starting role, scoring seven points, pulling in six rebounds and totaling three assists.
Kristyne Smyth tried to keep the Spartans in the contest, hitting 9-of-16 field goals for a game-high 25 points. Angela Talley threw in eight points off the bench for MBU.
The Scots, who finished the game hitting 54.7% (29-of-53) of their field goals, fell behind in the first three minutes, but then went on a 17-2 run over a span of 5:27 to take the lead for good, 20-9, at the 12:06 mark. Lyon grabbed its biggest lead of the half, 29-16, with 5:58 left before the break, and then settled back for a 35-28 lead at intermission.
But after the Spartans trimmed the deficit to five on two occasions early in the second half, Lyon College went on a 28-12 burst to push the lead over 20, 67-46, with 4:05 remaining and the Scots never looked back.
In other American Midwest Conference action on Tuesday, 23rd-ranked William Woods University (20-4, 11-3 AMC) stayed three games out of first with a 61-56 win over Williams Baptist College (14-12, 7-7 AMC), and Harris-Stowe State University (8-18, 5-9 AMC) bumped Park University (7-16, 4-10 AMC), 63-53. Benedictine University (3-20, 0-13 AMC) played at Stephens College (5-19, 2-11 AMC) in the other league matchup.
The Scots can't get caught looking ahead on Thursday night when they travel to Springfield, Ill. to take on Benedictine at 5:30 p.m. Lyon has to keep pace with Columbia before the teams play on Saturday. The Cougars won the earlier matchup between the two conference heavyweights, 82-67.