The Missouri women’s team lost in heartbreaking fashion Tuesday as the No. 14 Texas A&M Aggies mounted a late rally to defeat the Tigers by a final of 56-52.
With three minutes remaining, the Tigers held a 50-45 advantage and were in prime position to pull off their first Big 12 Conference win of the season.
But the Tigers could not hold on for the upset, as the Aggies went on an 11-2 run to close the game.
The Tigers shot 1-of-5 from the floor in the game's final four minutes, while the Aggies hit clutch shots and free throws to escape Mizzou Arena with a win.
The victory moved the Aggies 9-4 in league play, placing them second behind the undefeated and No. 1 Baylor Lady Bears. The Tigers drop to 0-13 in the Big 12.
Senior forward Christine Flores had the Tigers' lone basket in the final four minutes, but it came with two seconds remaining and the game already decided.
The Tigers' inability to finish close games has plagued them all season, with five of their conference losses coming by less than 6 points.
Coach Robin Pingeton acknowledged that a team like Texas A&M, the defending national champion with experience in tournament games, has an advantage in tight games.
“No doubt about it, there is an advantage there,” Pingeton said. “We’re young and inexperienced, and we have got players on the court that haven’t been through it before at this level.”
Freshman Morgan Eye was a bright spot for the Tigers once again, scoring a career-high 19 points. Eye had 14 points in the first half, but struggled down the stretch in missing her four last field goal attempts.
Senior Christine Flores added another double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Overall, Pingeton was pleased with the team’s effort as they continue to battle despite the losses piling up.
“There is not another team in the country that can do what these young ladies do,” Pingeton said of her squad. “Give them credit. They’re better than they were a month ago.”
Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said the Tigers outplayed his team and deserved to win the game.
Pingeton continued to reiterate that the scoreboard does not define this team.
“If we allow ourselves to be defined by that scoreboard it is going to be a miserable season,” Pingeton said. “We’re all laying a foundation, and we are going to absolutely focus on these little victories we continue to have.”
Pingeton reiterated that with future winning will come the fans.
“Fans want to support a winning program and a style that is fun, and we have to do our part,” Pingeton said. “I believe with all my heart they’re going to come out in large numbers as we continue to build this program.”
Missouri will travel Saturday to Lawrence, Kans., for potentially its last matchup with rival Kansas with the school's impending move to the Southeastern Conference. Flores acknowledged that, though the game is a little more special, the team maintains the same mindset for every game.
“It’s one more game on the schedule, and we’re going out there to get a win,” Flores said.