WARRENSBURG, Mo. -- No. 11 Central Missouri claimed its first outright MIAA title since the 1990-91 season, dropping Northwest Missouri on Senior Day 77-56 at the Multipurpose Building on Saturday afternoon. With the victory, the Jennies clinch the No. 1 seed in the MIAA tournament.
Five Jennies (23-3, 17-2 MIAA) scored in double figures, headlined by senior Keuna Flax, who closed out her home career with 15 points and nine rebounds. Junior Revonnia Howard collected her fourth double-double of the season, finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Ariel Easton spotted Northwest Missouri a 3-0 lead in the first 41 seconds, hitting a triple. The Jennies took a 5-3 lead on the next two possessions after Shelby Winkelmann dropped in a layup and BreAnna Lewis knocked down a three-pointer of her own.
After three lead changes, the Jennies jumped back in front for good 13-12 on a layup by Flax, with 12:03 left in the opening half. UCM's lead reached double-digits at 32-22 courtesy of six unanswered points by Lewis, Twine and Flax with under four minutes until halftime. The Jennies maintained a double-digit edge for the remainder of the half, taking a 42-31 lead after 20 minutes of play.
UCM outscored the Bearcats, 12-4 in the paint and received 11 points from the second unit. Lewis and Quinnecia Twine each scored 11 first half points.
In the first 2:12 of the game's second half, UCM bumped its lead to 21, going on a 10-0 spurt. The Bearcats were unable to cut the deficit to single digits in the second half, and mustered only 25 points.
The Jennies lead grew to as many as 25 at 77-52, sealing their season best eighth-consecutive win to close out the regular season.
UCM dominated the Bearcats in the paint, outscoring Northwest Missouri, 34-10. The Jennies collected 16 second chance points and scored eight points on fast breaks.
With 23 wins in the 2013-14 regular season, the Jennies program passed its total from a season ago when the team finished with 22 wins prior to the conference tournament. It's the first time the Jennies have won 23 regular season victories in the Dave Slifer era.
The Jennies will play the winner of the play-in game between Northwest Missouri and Northeastern State next Thursday in Kansas City.