Springfield, Ill. — The University of Missouri-St. Louis women’s basketball team ended a four-game losing skid Thursday evening at the University of Illinois-Springfield’s TRAC Arena, with an 82-74 win over their Great Lakes Valley Conference rival.
Senior Kelly Mitchell poured in a career-high 28 points, including a season-best five three-pointers, to lead the Tritons. Teammate Caitlyn Moody, who banged in six three-pointers against UIS, added 22 points, as UMSL won for just the second time in 2011.
After losing their first game of 2011 against Missouri S&T, the Tritons picked up a victory over crosstown rival Maryville on Jan. 4, but then lost four-straight, before picking up a much needed win over the Prairie Stars on Thursday.
The victory raised UMSL’s record to 7-10 overall and 2-7 in GLVC play, which puts them in fourth place in the GLVC West Division, one game behind Maryville, but still within striking distance for what could be the league’s final playoff spot.
The GLVC has three divisions (East, North, and West), and three teams from each league will earn an automatic bid into the postseason conference tournament. After that, the three remaining teams with the best conference records will receive a wild-card bid into the tournament.
But with a 2-7 league record, UMSL might have a difficult time qualifying for one of those wild-card spots. So the Tritons best shot at making the post-season will probably come from reaching third place in the West and earning an automatic GLVC Tournament bid.
To get there, the Tritons will need more efforts like the one they got from Mitchell and Moody on Thursday.
The duo combined to hit 15-of-31 shots from UMSL, and made all 11 of the 18 three-pointers the Tritons took.
One key run came in the first half, when Mitchell and Moody hit back-to-back 3’s to spark an 11-0 spurt that turned a 22-19 deficit into a 30-22 lead.
UMSL never trailed after that point, and led by as many as 19 points in the second half, before cruising to the eight-point win on the road.
Senior Kelcy Hulbert was the big scorer in the second half. She put in 13 of her season-high 15 points and added six rebounds to spur the Triton defensive effort.
UMSL will play another key game on Saturday, when it travels to Rensselaer, Ind., to take on St. Joseph’s College. SJC has a 3-6 GLVC record, and should they and UMSL end the season tied in conference play, the winner of Saturday’s game would own the tiebreaker for that potential last GLVC wild-card spot.
Saturday’s game will tipoff at 1 p.m.