FULTON, Mo. - Facing their third team ranked in the NAIA Division I top 30 in the past two weeks, the Lyon College (Ark.) women's basketball team overcame a seven-point halftime deficit by turning up the defensive tempo, in addition to connecting on 55.6% of its field goals in the final 20 minutes as the No. 19-ranked Scots knocked off 16th-ranked William Woods University (Mo.), 62-55, in an American Midwest Conference matchup Saturday afternoon in Anderson Arena.
The victory, Lyon's fifth straight and tenth in its last 11 contests, handed the Owls (12-2, 3-1 AMC) only their second loss of the season, but more importantly, dropped them back into a tie with Missouri Baptist (6-10, 3-1 AMC) for third place in the AMC race. Lyon College improved to 14-2 on the year, while keeping the Scots tied atop the conference standings with Columbia College at 4-0. The Cougars (11-5) bolted past Stephens College (3-12, 0-4 AMC), 63-43.
In other AMC games on Saturday, Missouri Baptist (6-10, 3-1 AMC) moved into a tie with WWU with a 73-53 win over Benedictine University at Springfield (3-11, 0-4 AMC), Harris-Stowe (4-12, 1-3 AMC) knocked off Hannibal-LaGrange (9-6, 2-2 AMC), 72-63, and Williams Baptist (9-7, 2-2 AMC) edged Park University (4-9, 1-3 AMC), 76-72.
Lyon College has struggled during conference play with first-half shooting and the Scots struggled with that aspect of their game again on Saturday, hitting just 8-of-30 (26.7%) from the field in the first 20 minutes. Meanwhile, William Woods connected on 11-of-31 (35.5%) of its shots, while never falling behind and building as much as a nine-point advantage before settling for a 28-21 lead at the break.
But the Scots, who converted 40.4% (23-of-57) of their field goals and 57.9% (11-of-19) of their free throws in the game, came alive in the second half to outscore the Owls 41-27 in the pivotal period. WWU hit 33.3% (19-of-57) of its field goals in the game and only 16-of-32 (50%) from the charity stripe.
Lyon forced 11 of William Woods' 18 turnovers in the second half, while the Scots turned the ball over five times in the first half and nine in the final 20 minutes.
It took the Scots 32:56 to take their first lead in the game, but once they did, they never looked back. In the final 9:22 of the contest, Lyon outscored William Woods 17-10, holding maximum leads of eight points down the stretch.
The Owls outrebounded the Scots, 48-33, but Lyon College controlled just about every aspect of the game. Three Scots scored in double figures, led by senior Phagen Altom, who dropped in 16 points, while picking up six rebounds, three steals and an assist. Batesville, Ark. junior product Alex Davidson had the hot hand for LC perimeter shooters, connecting on 5-of-7 from the field to finish with 12 points, three assists and a pair of boards. Senior Debbie Onukwube scored 11 points and tacked on three rebounds.
Lyon senior Christine Smith pitched in eight points, with senior Suzanne Fincham chipping in six points, eight rebounds, three assists and a block. Junior Gabby Jenkins scored six points and added six boards and sophomore Whitney Keith scored five.
The loss spoiled a double-double by William Woods' Priscila Santos, who came off the bench to score 14 points, while chipping in 13 rebounds and three steals. Olivia Storjohann scored 15 points and added seven boards, Stephanie Copelin dropped in 11 points and Katie Scherder finished with six points and 12 rebounds.
Lyon College, which is 2-1 against top 30 teams in the past 14 days, will try to extend its winning streak on Tuesday night when the Scots visit Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis. The game, which will be part of a women/men doubleheader, is set to tip-off at 5:30 p.m. LC will then host Benedictine University at Springfield (Ill.) on Thursday at 5:30 p.m., before hosting Columbia College Saturday at 2 p.m. The Cougars are currently receiving enough votes in the national rankings to put them at No. 30.