Jan. 23—KEARNEY, Neb. — The Missouri Southern women's basketball team remains red hot.
Fresh off a 54-41 upset of No. 2 Fort Hays State on Thursday, the Lions capped an historic week by knocking off No. 14 Nebraska-Kearney 57-54 on Saturday afternoon inside the UNK Health and Sports Center.
MSSU has picked up back-to-back ranked wins for the first time since the 2003-2004 season when it defeated then-No. 4 Emporia State and No. 9 Washburn. Southern is the first team this season to take out both FHSU and UNK.
The Lions (12-5, 9-3 MIAA) were paced offensively by Madi Stokes, who finished with 15 points on 6 of 11 shooting from the floor and 3 of 4 shooting from the foul line. She also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and blocked two shots — giving her sole possession of second place in program history with 111 career blocks, eight shy of the program record set by Zoe Campbell from 2017-2021.
True freshman guard Lacy Stokes tallied 12 points, five rebounds and five steals, while redshirt freshman guard Kaitlin Hunnicutt added seven points and grabbed five boards. Guard Brooke Stauffer led the team with four assists and chipped in five points and five rebounds, and junior guard/forward Amaya Johns led all bench scorers with 14 points and three rebounds.
A 9-0 run by UNK (15-3, 10-2) to open the game was snapped by Stauffer on a mid-range jumper to put the Lions on the scoreboard with 3:54 remaining in the opening period. The basket sparked an eventual 7-2 surge by the Lions to trim the deficit to four points with just over a minute remaining in the period.
Southern went on to outscore UNK 17-6 in the second quarter to go up 24-20 at halftime. Southern closed the period on an 11-3 run that saw Johns account for six points.
Out of the break, the Lions widened their advantage to 31-23 by the 7:33 mark of the third period. However, the Lopers responded with a 15-0 surge over the next five minutes to go back in front by seven points before Lacy Stokes ended the MSSU dry spell with a pair of freebies.
UNK took a 42-37 lead into the final quarter before Southern went on a 7-2 run that was capped by a Johns layup to tie the game with 7:14 to play.
Lacy Stokes took control of the game in the final 1:32, scoring the Lions's last five points — two layups and one free throw — to help clinch the three-point triumph over the Lopers. Southern outscored UNK 20-12 in the final 10 minutes.
As a team, Southern bested UNK in steals (6-3), offensive rebounds (10-9), points off turnovers (9-7), points in the paint (22-14), second-chance points (22-5) and forced turnovers (14-6).
Elisa Backes and Trinity Law led the scoring for the Lopers with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
MSSU returns to play on Wedensday at 5:30 p.m. in another MIAA tilt against Rogers State inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center in Joplin.