(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) Winners of five of their last eight games, Northwest looked to close the regular season on a high note, but they couldn't slow down the 11th ranked team in the nation Saturday. Central Missouri beat the Bearcats (10-16, 7-12 MIAA) 77-56 to claim its first outright conference championship since the 1990-91 season.
Despite the loss, Northwest was able to hang on to the eighth seed in the upcoming MIAA Tournament allowing them to host Northeastern State in a first round matchup on Monday.
The Jennies (23-3, 17-2 MIAA) owned the lane with a rebounding edge of 47-27 over the Bearcats. Central also scored 24 more points in the paint and ten more second chance points in the win.
Ariel Easton scored 19 points for Northwest, including 4-8 shooting beyond the arc. Meridee Scott added 13 and Tember Schechinger had 11 points.
Former Benton standouts Breonna Embray and Andee Wahlert were among the Jennies cutting down the nets in Warrensburg. Embray -- a junior at UCM -- has started the last eight games in a row for the Jennies. In her freshman season, Wahlert's averaging 11.2 minutes per game for the MIAA champs.
Northwest men 64, Central Missouri 76
(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) Northwest's shot at its first outright MIAA title in 27 years ended Saturday afternoon as No. 19 Central Missouri knocked off the Bearcats 76-64. The win gives the Mules (24-4, 16-3 MIAA) a share of its 19th conference championship. The 'Cats (21-7, 16-3 MIAA) have a piece of the MIAA crown for the second time in three seasons.
The loss drops Northwest down to the second seed in the upcoming conference tournament, and Central's boosted into the top spot.
Senior Dillon Starzl kept the Bearcats within striking distance for much of the game with 18 points and six rebounds, but Northwest shot 29-percent in the second half and couldn't get closer than six points of the Mules.
Deshaun Cooper added 16 points, and Zach Schneider scored 12 points on 4-9 three-point shooting.
Northwest will face the winner between Southwest Baptist and Emporia State Friday at 6pm in Municipal Auditorium.