Lady Lions Roll in Season Finale

Lady Lions win against Oakland City

Photo: Courtesy of Don Adams Jr.

Brett McMillan | Sports Editor

Lady Lions win against Oakland City
Photo: Courtesy of Don Adams Jr.

Junior forward Sarah Schnieders scored 21 points during the Lady Lions’ 90-55 win over Oakland City University [Ind.] Tuesday. However, she was not the team leader in scoring.

That distinction belonged to sophomore guard, Marissa Lehnig, who scored a career high of 25 points during the Lady Lions’ final game of the 2011-12 season.

“I wanted to leave a mark, especially because we’re going [NCAA] Div. II,” Lehnig said. “I fed off of other people I feel like, and once everyone else kept going, I got the confidence to play at the best I can.”

Lehnig shot 62 percent from the floor, hitting 10 of the 17 shots she took. She also shot four-for-six from the perimeter, with two assists and four steals as well.

LU’s win against Oakland gives the Lady Lions a final overall record of 17-10. Lindenwood has now finished two straight seasons with a winning record. Before head coach Tony Francis took control at the beginning of last season, it had been five years since a season ended with a winning record.

Francis said the way his team won the final game of the season provides a good starting point as they begin preparing for the rigors of the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association, their new Div. II conference, which they will enter next season.

“I’m really proud of the girls tonight,” Francis said. “I thought we brought a really good energy, a good mental discipline with us. I thought we played with a lot of enthusiasm and we sold out for each other. We talk about that all a lot. We want a team that sells out for each other on the court, off the court. We hadn’t been perfect by any means this year, but I think we’ve grown.”

Oakland City had 18 first half turnovers and finished the game with 29 turnovers. Lindenwood had 13 turnovers, eight of which came from Oakland steals. Lindenwood had 19 steals of its own and had a plus three turnover ratio.

1/3 of Lindenwood’s points were scored during possessions as a direct result of an Oak City turnover. The Lady Lions also scored six points during fast breaks.

LU outscored the Oaks 32-to-20 in the paint and held Oak City’s two tallest players to a combined 16 points.

Bench points were another statistic favoring the Lady Lions. LU’s bench scored 21 more points than the Oakland substitutes. Oakland City had seven bench points during the game. Three Oakland players finished the game with double figure points. However, no one else from the team scored higher than five.

Lindenwood sophomore guard Ashley Roth scored four points while playing four minutes. Her only time on the floor came with less than five minutes remaining in the second half. This season, Roth averaged one point and four minutes per game.

“These kids are learning,” Francis said. “We’re a young team. We have no seniors, and it takes a while. And I thought tonight, I saw after a lot of dead balls. After a lot of hustle plays, I saw a lot of high-fives. I saw the bench being very active. Even in the last four minutes when we brought the other girls, who’ve earned every right to play, the starters were up off the bench. They were cheering for them, and I was really happy with that.”

Next season, the Lady Lions will compete in a conference with four teams ranked in the top 25 in this year’s national standings.

Schnieders said she and her teammates plan to be ready to compete at the Div. II level. She also said playing in front of a crowd of 400 people at Hyland Arena Tuesday night was a positive experience.

“This is what we’re here for,” Schnieders said. “This is what we’ve worked hard for. Having these fans out here is something that shows us that we have the support of the school, and the program, and everything like that. It felt good.”