The Lindenwood Lions had a home game Thursday night against Missouri Southern State University, MSSU. However, many in attendance were there to support the visiting Missouri Southern Lions, at least one player in particular.
Sharese Jones, who graduated last May from nearby Francis Howell Central High School, is a member of Missouri Southern, and her supporters were not disappointed as Jones had 10 points, and Missouri Southern downed Lindenwood 78-74 at the Hyland Arena.
Despite the difference in records, it was a close game throughout, not decided until the last minute. In fact, Jones hit a couple of key free throws with just 12.8 seconds remaining on the clock to help seal the MSSU victory. Jones said that her teammates deserve a lot of credit for putting her in that situation when the game was on the line.
“Big thing," she said. "Gotta hit ‘em, knock ‘em down, stay focused, and I’m proud of my teammates. “
As far as the victory, Jones continued to share the credit with her team.
“It was really good. I’m proud of my teammates," she said. "I’m glad we stuck it in there, but there are some things we have to work on, but otherwise, we’re happy to get our first road win, but now we have to continue on.”
Going from the high school game to the college level can be a big adjustment, and Jones talked about the difference.
"I would say the tempo of the game, and the physicality of the girls is a lot different," she said. "The girls are bigger, stronger. Everybody can shoot, everybody can dribble to the basket and score."
Many family and friends were in attendance at the game, something Jones truly appreciated.
“It means the world to me to have all this support coming out and supporting me and my fellow teammates," she said. "It’s awesome and we really appreciate it.”
In 31 minutes of play, in addition to the 10 points, Jones was 4 of 4 at the free throw line, made 2 of 3 three-point shots, had 4 rebounds, 4 assist and 1 steal.
One of those in attendance Thursday night was Sharese’s father, Ron Jones, who said Sharese is doing a fantastic job.
“She’s working hard…we haven’t really missed a game yet," Jones said. "Like I said, she’s worked hard, got herself in the starting lineup…she’s been playing really good for the team, and the whole team has been doing a good job.”
Sharese’s high school coach, Brian Ricker, was also there. Ricker said Jones played a real solid game.
“I’m real proud of her coming in here in front of her hometown fans," Ricker said. "We had about 35, 40 people here from our program, and she stepped up and had a real solid game. I was really proud of her.”
Other area players were involved in the game—all of them for Lindenwood. Freshman Sarah Schneiders, a St. Dominic graduate, led Lindenwood scorers with 21 points. Julie Hlinak, a sophomore from Ft. Zumwalt South, contributed 13, and freshman Jenny Rocha, also from St. Dominic, had 3.
Missouri Southern improved to 8-3 overall and 3-1 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. Lindenwood dropped to 3-9 and 0-4.
Jones and MSSU will have their next contest Saturday when they go to Lincoln University. Meanwhile, Lindenwood will host the University of Central Oklahoma Saturday afternoon. Game time at the Hyland Arena is 1:00.
A complete audio report and interviews can be heard at www.westplexsports.net.