The Maneater

How Missouri women's basketball escaped an LSU loss

Women’s team beats LSU for first time since 1988 despite a four-point third quarter and eight turnovers.

Missouri may have won this one, but they shouldn’t have.

Coming off perhaps its most emotional win of the season against No. 22 Florida, the Missouri women’s basketball team should have been on a high, feeding off of the same Columbia crowd energy that the fueled them just a few days earlier. On Thursday, the Tigers did so but only in the first half as the first 20 minutes featured a dominating performance from the tip. Senior Juanita Robinson hit buzzer beater trey at the end the first quarter and by half, Missouri led 33-16.

However, a much less productive team came out of the locker room for the second half, a team that only scored four points in the third quarter, a team with 13 sloppy turnovers in 20 minutes, a team that frankly didn’t deserve that ‘W’. But they got it winning, 52-46. Here are three reasons how:

Lack of purple and gold depth: Due to injuries, LSU only rotated in and out seven players. Two substitutes — that’s it. All but two players saw over 30 minutes and redshirt junior Lindsey Cunningham played the same amount the black and gold bench.

Though LSU fought the whole way through, the exhaustion was evident when an opportunity to lead was presented. The purple and gold had a shot — three actually. When the referees called a questionable Missouri foul on a been missed three pointer, LSU took the line. With those three free throws, the score gap was next to non-existent. Too bad they missed all three. That just doesn’t happen — not at the college level. Of course, you could blame simple inaccuracy, but given their .639 free throw shooting thus far, that’s highly unlikely.

LSU’s late start: Scoring only 16 points in the first 20 minutes, LSU allowed over double to Missouri in a sluggish start. It was in the second half, when focusing on one possession at a time, according to LSU coach Nikki Fargas, that the real purple and gold team came through.

“The second half is who we are,” LSU junior Alexis Hyde said. “We took too long to show who were and we had the window at the end of the fourth quarter to take the lead.”

Despite the much improved second half in outscoring Missouri 30-19, it just wasn’t enough. The player’s spurt came too late.

Morgan Stock: Stock sealed the deal in the fourth quarter scoring three vital treys for Missouri. Only winning by six, those nine points down the stretch extended the team’s lead to an unconquerable margin for LSU and gave the team the energy to close.

“Those shots usually pump me up and pump my team up, so that’s usually what I’m thinking when I’m out there,” Stock said. “(It was) something to get us going.”

Without those energizing, crowd-provoking shots, Missouri’s record would more than likely have a five in the loss column instead of a four. The team can thank it's now two-time, back-to-back three point hero for the ‘W’ column increasing instead.

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