Northeastern State closed out 2019 with an 81-60 blowout win over in-state rival Rogers State on Friday evening inside the NSU Event Center.
The meeting is the sixth between the two programs, but first in conference play with RSU joining the MIAA this season.
Maegan Lee had a career evening with 19 points and six rebounds, Cenia Hayes recorded her second consecutive 20-point game with 20 and eight rebounds, the junior also dished out five assists and had a pair of blocks. Freshman Britney Ho hit double-digit scoring for the second time with a career-high 13 points.
"I thought we had a solid team performance tonight. We had some contributions from everybody," said NSU head coach Fala Bullock. "I thought we used our energy to get us started today, and it was great. We had our best first quarter of the season. I just love seeing everybody work together and get a great team win under our belt."
Northeastern State forced 14 Rogers State turnovers and outpaced the Hillcats outs of the gates outscoring them 17-to-5 on miscues. The RiverHawks shot 1-for-8 from the arc but shot 52.9-percent from the field. Maegan Lee had a season-high ten points at the intermission with Hayes joining her with ten as well.
In the second half, the RiverHawks never relinquished their double-digit lead and paced the Hillcats as many as 19 points.
The RiverHawks finished the night shooting 48.4-percent from the field, but they were outrebounded by six with RSU grabbing 39 off of the glass.
Northeastern State improves to 4-6 overall and 2-1 in the MIAA. Rogers State dropped their seventh in a row and slip to 2-10 overall and 0-3 in league play.
The RiverHawks will be off through the holiday break and return to action on Jan. 4 at Northwest Missouri.
NSU men fall in OT at the buzzer: For the second time in the last 72 hours, the RiverHawks dropped a home contest on a buzzer-beater and fell 61-59 to Rogers State on Friday inside the NSU Event Center.
The Hillcats with 0.4 left on the clock launched and connected on a shot from the right wing that moved them to 11-1 this season and 3-0 in MIAA play.
"That's two games in a row where you lose on a shot like that," said NSU head coach Mark Downey. "I take the last possession, that's on me. I went to a defense we've been working on in practice, and I got to stay true to myself and just guard them."
"We let a guy get loose, and we didn't execute the defense like we're supposed to. If we're in man or loaded up, we don't give up a three right there. They might get something at the rim; we were really worried about them getting something at the rim, we guarded that and let a guy get loose and make a shot."
Friday's heartbreaker overshadowed a career performance from Red Oak's Brad Davis, who led the team off the bench with 24 points and went 9-for-17 on the floor. The junior came back from a Tuesday evening game where he went scoreless.
Caleb Smith was NSU's second player in double-digits with 11 points. Iain McLaughlin had seven points and seven rebounds.
The RiverHawks were limited to 20 points in the second half, a low mark for an NSU squad under Downey. As a team, they were 40-percent from the field shooting 20-for-50. On the glass, the RiverHawks held a 34-32 edge on the Hillcats.
Neither team led in double-digits with the lead exchanging hands ten times.
The loss drops the RiverHawks to 9-3 overall and 2-1 in MIAA play.
"This was a tough one, Rogers deserved to win, they played hard, but we probably deserved to win too, it's tough. They made one more play then we did, and it's a freshman that made that play, so we're going to see him a lot in the next few years, but we'll try and enjoy Christmas and be with our families. We'll get over it, we'll get better."
Northeastern State will return to action on Jan. 4 at Northwest Missouri.