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Monday, April 24, 2017

Missouri women’s basketball blown out by IUPUI in Indianapolis

After two encouraging wins early in the week, the Sunday loss at IUPUI was a step in the wrong direction for the Tigers.

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Sophomore guard Sophie Cunningham, 3, jumps up for a shot during Tuesday night's home game facing Western Illinois University.

Emil Lippe /Senior Staff Photographer

Dec. 4, 2016

After sweeping a two-game homestand last week, Missouri women’s basketball fell to IUPUI in Indianapolis on Sunday.

Following a tight win over Western Illinois and a blowout victory over Missouri State — which saw four players score in double-digits — the Tigers looked to keep their winning streak alive as they headed to the Hoosier state.

Unfortunately, the Tigers’ momentum didn’t travel up I-70 to Indianapolis with the rest of the team. Missouri came out slow and never truly recovered. Trailing by nine points after the first quarter, the Tigers fell behind 41-21 at the half, with IUPUI shooting 56 percent from the field.

Missouri fared no better in the second half as IUPUI ran away with it, ultimately falling to the Jaguars 73-45.

After two encouraging wins earlier in the week, the Sunday loss for the Tigers was a step backward.

Here are some takeaways from the game:

Turnovers continue to rack up

Turnovers once again told the story for the Tigers as they coughed the ball up 20 times, resulting in 28 points off of turnovers. Guard Sierra Michaelis and forward Cierra Porter each led the team with five turnovers. Ball security has been an issue for the Tigers all season, and as the problem continues to persist, solutions are becoming less and less clear.

Reliance on Porter and Cunningham

For most of this season, the Tigers have relied heavily on the production of Sophie Cunningham and Cierra Porter. The two sophomores have carried the team night in, night out and in large part have done so successfully.

On Sunday, Porter and Cunningham posted usage ratings (the percentage of a team's possessions a player "uses" while they are in the game) of 28.7 percent and 28.2 percent, respectively, meaning that the two accounted for over 50 percent of the team’s shots. Missouri’s offense has leaned on them all season long, and games like Sunday’s, where Porter and Cunningham are the lone players scoring in double digits, are an indication of how overly reliant Missouri is on its two stars. In order to succeed this season, the Tigers will need others to step up and carry some of the burden.

Kayla McDowell sees more minutes

After making her season debut on Friday against Missouri State, Kayla McDowell gained more time on the court in Indianapolis, seeing 10 minutes on Sunday. Missing the season’s first seven games while recovering from a strained hamstring, the redshirt junior has returned to the Tigers’ bench ready to make an impact. After appearing in 30 games last season and averaging 12.3 minutes per game, McDowell adds even more depth to an already deep bench.

Missouri returns home Wednesday night for a matchup against SIU Edwardsville at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers and Cougars tip off at 7 p.m.

Edited by Peter Baugh | pbaugh@themaneater.com

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