Missouri women’s basketball outplayed in 75-67 loss to Florida

The Gators’ offense dominated the Tigers, despite a late rally from the home team.

Engaged in a competitive game against a beatable low-tier SEC opponent, Missouri women’s basketball (6-19, 3-9 SEC) needed to keep pace with a hot opposition offense. Instead, the Tigers put up only nine third-quarter points before a last-minute rally against Florida (14-11, 5-7 SEC), eventually falling 75-67.

The final score hinted at a closer game than reality. The Gators’ screen-heavy offense was too much for Missouri to handle. As Florida’s players created wide-open shots again and again around the floor, the Tigers couldn’t stay on pace.

Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said the blame for the loss, which took place in front of a season-largest crowd of 4,635, rests “a hundred percent on me.”

“I didn’t have our girls ready to go,” Pingeton said. “I’ve got to look myself in the mirror and figure out what I did or didn’t do to get these guys ready to go, because I think you’re a direct reflection of your coach. I don’t have an answer, but I’ll continue to try and figure it out.”

Missouri was able to mount something of a fourth-quarter comeback, bringing the deficit down to eight with under a minute to go in the game while scoring 26 points in the final six-and-a-half minutes.

It was too little too late, especially following the third quarter, when the Tigers were outscored 18-9. Missouri had led briefly in the second, but Florida’s offense was superior.

Florida – a team that entered the game shooting 28.5% from 3-point range – made 12 on 28 attempts, good enough for 42.9%. Freshman guard Brylee Bartram made half of her team’s baskets from beyond the arc.

Similarly difficult for the Tigers to contain were freshman guard Lavender Briggs, who scored 18 all around the floor in 36 minutes, and redshirt senior forward Zada Williams, who settled into a double-double performance.

“We didn’t do a very good job as coaches with our scouting,” Pingeton said. “One of their best 3-point shooters in Bartram – she got off 11 3’s.”

Missouri’s offense suffered from 3-point range as it tried to keep pace with the Gators. Senior guard Jordan Chavis, the team’s leading 3-point shooter, sat out with concussion symptoms, leaving something of a void in the Tigers’ system. Redshirt sophomore Haley Troup was primarily charged with replacing Chavis, but picked up three fouls in the first quarter and only played 19 minutes.

“As good as [Chavis] is, I don’t feel comfortable saying that’s why we lost the game,” Pingeton said. “There’s enough out there that we could have controlled.”

Perhaps even more glaring was Missouri’s inability to recycle the ball: On 78 possessions, the Tigers grabbed only five offensive rebounds to score just a single second-chance point.

Aijha Blackwell led Missouri in scoring with 20 points, the fifth time this season she’s eclipsed 20 points in a game.

Missouri visits Vanderbilt (13-11, 3-8 SEC) on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.

Edited by Wilson Moore | wmoore@themaneater.com

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