Missouri can’t fend off Gator run in fourth, falls 58-56 in Gainesville

Missouri didn’t have a player in double figures and went scoreless in the final three minutes of the game.
Designed by Corey Hadfield

Missouri had the ball with 30 seconds to play and the game tied at 56. Redshirt freshman Haley Troup drove the lane but lost the basketball. She desperately dove in an attempt to regain possession, but the Gators were going the other way.

With 2.2 seconds to go, Gator guard Delicia Washington made a running layup to give Florida (5-12, 1-3) a 58-56 win over Missouri (14-3, 3-1).

This was Florida’s first win in conference play and Missouri’s first loss. It was also the Tigers’ first true road game loss of the year.

This road game was made even more difficult because of the travel situation. Due to a blizzard that hit Columbia on Friday, the team drove to Kansas City to fly to Gainesville, Florida. Missouri did not get a shoot around in before the game.

The Tigers did not let the unprecedented situation affect them early as they held Florida to 35 percent from the field in the first half. Eight of Missouri’s first 11 shots were from behind the arc, converting three in the first quarter.

Missouri held Florida to just 9 second quarter points, and went to the break with a 30-21 lead. It ended the quarter with a 10-3 run. Junior Amber Smith scored all of her 9 points in the first half, and grabbed two of her seven total rebounds.

Missouri never seemed to be able to put the Gators away for good. Its largest lead did reach 14, but the Gators even climbed that deficit. Each team scored 15 points to cause a stalemate in the third quarter, then Florida used a 22 point fourth to down the Tigers.

Missouri went scoreless for the final 2:47 of the game, and it ended on a 17-3 Florida run. The Tigers didn’t have a player score in double figures and throughout the game many players looked passive to shoot. Numerous open shots were passed up in favor of more ball movement.

Smith and junior Jordan Roundtree lead Missouri with 9 points each and senior Cierra Porter had 8. Senior Sophie Cunningham totaled just 4 points and had a game high eight assists.

It wasn’t that she was shooting poorly – she only shot the ball five times. Cunningham’s first priority seemed to be getting her teammates involved. She played 35 minutes, the most of any Tiger, and fouled out with 47 seconds to play.

Her absence is something Missouri has grown accustomed to, as this is the fifth time she has fouled out of a contest this year. Without her on the floor, Missouri was unable to get a shot off on its final two possessions of the game, turning the ball over once.

Two key stats that point to the Missouri loss are rebounds and free throws. Missouri lost the rebounding battle 32-30. While not an overwhelming number, it’s still something coach Robin Pingeton talks about after every game. Including this loss, Missouri has been outrebounded in three of its four losses.

Missouri shot just three free throws on the afternoon, all by Porter. On the other hand, Florida shot 11-16 from the charity stripe. It was free throw shooting that elevated Florida over Missouri.

The Tigers return home to face the Georgia Bulldogs on Thursday, Jan. 17. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CST.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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