Mizzou women’s basketball breaks curse against Arkansas

The team won in Fayetteville for the first time since joining the SEC.
Senior guard Sierra Michaelis, 24, drives towards the basket looking to create space at Mizzou Arena on Dec. 7.

In a 60-46 rout over Arkansas (13-7), Missouri (14-7) picked up their first win in Fayetteville, Arkansas, since Dec. 21, 2008. Sierra Michaelis led the way for the Tigers with 23 points and nine assists as Mizzou stunned Bud Walton Arena and moved to 4-3 in Southeastern Conference play.

From the opening tip, this game was all Missouri. The Tigers had a hot offensive start, jumping to an 8-0 lead against the Razorbacks. But Mizzou’s start was the least of Arkansas’ problems. The Razorbacks struggled to solve Mizzou’s 3/4 court zone press. The press sped up Arkansas’ offense and forced them into five first-quarter turnovers. At the end of the first quarter, Mizzou led 21-8 with six different players scoring in the opening period. Mizzou simply outplayed Arkansas.

In the second quarter, the dominance continued. Freshman Amber Smith played a huge role off the bench, scoring nine points off of 4-4 shooting midway through the quarter. Despite a 16-point deficit, Arkansas was finally able to execute its defensive game plan. Mizzou had 12 turnovers in the first half, and leading scorer Sophie Cunningham was held scoreless. The Tigers went 4-11 from three and only shot one free throw.

The Razorbacks couldn’t claw back into the game in part due to a seven-point second quarter from Michaelis. They also couldn’t buy a bucket on the offensive end. Arkansas shot 22 percent from the field in the first half and were held to 20 points, their fewest points scored in a first half this season.

Mizzou shut down any thoughts of a comeback early in the second half. The Tigers opened the second half with back-to-back threes from Cunningham and Michaelis. With that three, Michaelis became the 34th player to join Mizzou’s 1,000 point club. This was Michaelis’ fifth game scoring 20 points or higher this year.

Heading into the fourth, the Tigers were up 47-30. Arkansas outscored Mizzou 16-13 in the fourth quarter, but to no avail. This game was already over.

Mizzou had a balanced attack. Nine players scored for the Tigers, picking up for Cunningham’s quiet five-point, seven-rebound night. After Michaelis, Mizzou was lead by Cierra Porter with 10 points and four rebounds. Mizzou, who is dead last in the SEC in offensive rebounds, also finished with an impressive 16 offensive boards, resulting in 13 second-chance points.

Mizzou takes on Auburn next at 7 p.m. on Jan. 26 at home.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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