Tigers sink Billikens in season-opener

Bri Kulas commanded the Tigers' 3-point shooting barrage in the 67-51 win.

Saint Louis coach Lisa Stone has won over 500 games in 26 years of being a bench manager in women’s college basketball, so certainly nothing Missouri would’ve done Friday night in its season-opener could have possibly surprised her.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve played a team that’s taken 36 3s,” Stone said.

The Tigers (1-0) made 13 of those 36, contributing to well over half of their total points in their 67-51 win over in-state rival SLU (0-1) at Mizzou Arena.

MU coach Robin Pingeton shouldn’t be shocked by her team’s willingness to launch. On Tuesday, the Tigers attempted 31 three pointers in their final exhibition game, actually making two more of them.

“I thought we should’ve hit a few more of them to be honest with you,” Pingeton said.

An aspect of that 3-point shooting that did improve was junior guard Bri Kulas. Kulas followed up a 16-point performance on Tuesday with 18 points Friday night, making her three shots from behind the arc, ending the night 4 for 6 from downtown.

When asked when the last time she shot that well was, Kulas didn’t even get a chance to respond.

“Yesterday in practice,” Pingeton said.

Although Pingeon knew of Kulas’ shooting skills, Stone doesn’t get the opportunity to see her in practice everyday. Stone said she was impressed by Kulas’ play.

“I thought 13 (Kulas) went off on us,” Stone said.

Even with all of the success from long range, Pingeton doesn’t want to rely on the shot as heavily as her team did Friday night.

“We’re not going to be a donut,” Pingeton said. "We’re going to find a way to be an inside-out team, whether it’s a dribble drive or an inside post feed, that’s something that we’re going to continue to work on."

Although the margin of victory was large, the game stayed close early. The Billikens trailed by just three going into halftime.

In the first portion of the second half, freshman guard Lianna Doty dove for several loose balls, helping Missouri cause SLU to turn the ball over 22 times.

“Whenever you see someone going hard, like Doty comes out of nowhere and gets her hand on the ball, it just makes the rest of the team get excited, get more energy, get ready to play and want to be just like that,” said freshman guard Maddie Stock.

The win marks the 18th straight time that Missouri has beaten its neighbor to the east. After remaining unbeaten in the series, the Tigers will attempted to remain unbeaten on the early season when they face Chicago State Monday at Mizzou Arena.

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