Midwestern State's heart and hustle were unquestioned Tuesday night at Fugate Gymnasium.
But the Mustangs' ability to convert from the charity stripe greatly hampered their ability to erase a large second half deficit allowing Newman to hang on for a 74-65 non-conference win.
"If we're going to miss 19 free throws, you're not going to beat anyone," MSU coach Noel Johnson said. "We have to learn through these games because it's a growing experience. Newman is a great team with a lot of solid players."
Despite connecting on just 13-of-32 free throws (40.6 percent), the Mustangs battled back from a pair of deficits both in the first and second halves.
Midwestern trailed by as many as six points in the opening half, but used an 8-2 run that could have been more had Cierra Thompson and Kristi Degelia been able to convert traditional three-point plays. Yet, MSU knotted the game at 19-19 on a pair of Shatoia Gober free throws with 6:39 to go before halftime.
Newman's Satoria Bell, who finished with 20 points and six rebounds, connected on a jumper to regain the lead for the Jets, who would never trail again.
Newman overlapped a 17-3 run between the halves to break open a close game as the Jets led 42-27 on Bell's transition jumper in the paint with 17:50 to play. NU would lead by as many as 20 points before the Mustangs gaming storming back.
"We were not aggressively attacking and getting into the offensive flow," Johnson said. "We hang our hats on our press and finally started doing those things in the closing minutes."
The Mustangs' pressure resulted in a 16-4 run fueled by senior forward Savannah Carver, who splashed eight of her team-high 18 points in the spurt.
Carver's third trey of the night pulled Midwestern to within 69-61 with 1:22 to play, but the Mustangs were unable to get any closer.
Freshman guard Shatoia Gober joined Carver in double figures with 14 points and four rebounds, while fellow frosh Andrea Carter finished with eight points, eight rebounds and four steals.
Newman's Tosha Cannon paced the 2-0 Jets with 23 points and 16 rebounds.
Midwestern State hosts the Comfort Inn & Suites/Ashbrook Classic this weekend at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
The Mustangs open against Central Missouri Friday night before taking on No. 11 Washburn (Kan.) on Saturday. Both games tip off at 7:30 p.m.