Missouri women upset No. 10 Baylor
The Tigers earned their first conference win of the season.
Jan. 26, 2010
The Missouri women's basketball team earned its first conference victory Saturday over No. 10 Baylor.
Every Tiger who hit the floor contributed in the much needed win. Missouri finished with 32 bench points, led by sophomore forward Christine Flores and junior guard Jasmyn Otote.
"Everybody came in and did something well for us," coach Cindy Stein said. "When you can get that off your bench and obviously your starters playing well, it makes for a great afternoon."
After being held scoreless for the first five minutes, the Tigers caught fire from long distance. Three-pointers from Otote and senior forward Amanda Hanneman kept Missouri in the game. The pair shot 6-of-8 from beyond the arc in the first half.
The absence of Baylor center Brittney Griner due to early foul trouble opened the door for the Missouri comeback. The freshman sensation, who averages almost 20 points and 10 rebounds with six blocks per game, was held to 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks on the day.
Looking ahead after Wednesday's loss to Oklahoma, Flores didn't buy into all the hype surrounding Griner. She showed why Saturday with her active defense preventing Baylor from getting the ball inside to the giant freshman. Flores ended up outperforming the Big 12 Player of the Year candidate with 15 points and nine rebounds of her own.
After trailing since the first possession, Missouri earned its first lead with three minutes left in the half on one of Otote's four first half 3-pointers. After the slow start, the Tigers held a 31-30 advantage at the break.
Although Baylor struck first in the second half, Missouri continued to force turnovers and capitalize on the other end. The Bears made a costly 20 turnovers in the game, leading to 24 of Missouri's points.
Missouri continued to stifle Griner on defense and maintain its scoring on offense. Although they trailed by as many as four points in the second, the Tigers regained the lead with 14 minutes to play and never looked back.
Stein said she was pleased at her team's ability to control the tempo but praised her Tigers' perseverance above all else.
"I think that's the most important element here," Stein said. "Our kids have refused to quit. They want to be competitive."
Baylor made multiple late runs, but an easy lay-in for Flores after the press break sealed the deal for Missouri at 70-62.
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey praised her opponent after the game, comparing the experienced Missouri squad to her very young team.
"I don't think it's great shame losing to Missouri," Mulkey said. "You're looking at a veteran ball club. You're looking at seniors and juniors that hit some big shots for them today."
Senior forward Jessra Johnson is one of those veterans who stepped up, leading all scorers with 19 points.
Afterward, Johnson said she was just happy to get a win and "sing the fight song" again.
"It's a great feeling to get this win against a great team," Johnson said. "I'm very excited right now. It feels like we just won a championship."