Jordan Cunningham

The Missouri Western Women’s Basketball team went toe-to-toe against Northeastern State, a team that entered with a 2-5 record. The Griffons entered Saturday’s action with a perfect 5-0 record, coming off their conference opener in which they knocked off Rogers State at the MWSU Fieldhouse. The Riverhawks entered play with an 0-1 start to their conference play.

The Griffons came out of the gates shooting red hot. They Scored 12 unanswered points to start the game, putting the Riverhawks in a hole early. At one point, the scoreboard showed an 18-3 score in favor of the Griffons.  

“We know how strong we are in transition and sometimes we forget or just don’t push it as hard as we need to,” Griffon guard\forward Jordan Cunningham said. “As soon as we started doing that and finding shooters who were hot and really focusing on our finishing, I think that’s what really made that lead get bigger.”

The Riverhawks began to claw their way back into the game, ending the first quarter scoring seven of the final nine points the first frame saw.  Still, the Griffons had a commanding 20-10 lead.  The second quarter was a tale of two halves. Missouri Western came out smoking and pumped their lead to 30-12 within the first few minutes of the quarter. Northeastern State was then able to capitalize on several out of sync possessions by their opposition. They closed the first half gap all the way down to 11, trailing 37-26 at halftime. 

The Griffons put together a very solid third quarter, guard Brionna Budgetts had seven of her game high 22 points in the third frame. The 22 points for Budgetts marked a new career high for her. Solid defense for the Griffons gave the Riverhawks a poor 6-16 from the floor coming out of halftime.

Budgetts continued to lead the Griffons in the fourth quarter. She had consecutive three balls after a short run for the Riverhawks. Even with a bit of a cold spell for Missouri Western, their defense allowed them to hang on. They took the game in a commanding 79-61 form. Jordan Cunningham added 10 points while guards Alyssa Bonilla and Jaelyn Haggard combined for 17 points.

“Winning is fun and it’s a part of the experience and as a coach, you want that for your program,” Head Coach Candi Whitaker said. “We have some talented players that bring it everyday and they have deserved what they’ve gotten so far.”

The 6-0 start is the best start the Griffons have had in six years. The team continues their quest to extend their win streak on Thursday, Dec. 9, in Jefferson City, Missouri, where they take on the Lincoln Blue Tigers. 

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