MU tames Wildcats
Jan. 23, 2001
Although the Missouri women's basketball team didn't win the Pepperdine Tournament in November, the Tigers were able to come away with a lesson they could use to win a conference matchup with Kansas State, 65-60, on Saturday.
When tournament's host came from behind to defeat MU, 69-68, in the championship game, the Tigers (12-5, 3-3 Big 12) were disappointed with the way they handled the pressure of falling behind.
"It was the first time a team got us down," MU coach Cindy Stein said. "We had a lead, they jumped on us and we did not respond as well as we would have liked. Ever since then, we've been able to.
"They're not quitters. They have that all-out mentality that if someone is going to beat us, we're going to leave it all out."
With lessons learned from Pepperdine and last Wednesday's one-point loss to Iowa State, the Tigers found a way to come from behind to defeat the Wildcats (11-6, 1-5).
MU trailed most of the game and found itself eight points behind with just eight minutes left to play. After MU three-pointers by junior Wendy Okenson and sophomore Kerensa Barr cut the lead to four, senior Marlena Williams sank two straight buckets to tie the game at 54.
Williams, playing in foul trouble for most of the second half, scored eight of her 10 points in the final six minutes as the Tigers took the lead.
With time running out, the Wildcats' Kim Woodlee, who had hit six 3-pointers in the game, had a 3-point attempt blocked by Barr. Freshman Evan Unrau, who pulled down the loose ball, hit two free throws to seal the victory.
Woodlee said her team came out flat after halftime, giving Missouri the chance to fight back.
"Our intensity level went down, and they came out very aggressive," the Wildcat senior said. "I believe we got rattled. They came out and worked us."
MU senior Amanda Lassiter, who was quiet offensively for most of the game, said it was the Tigers' game plan to focus on stopping Kansas State in the second half.
"We had to come out a lot more intense than we did in the first half," Lassiter said. "Just play defense and not worry about offense so much. That was my focus coming out in the second half.
"I knew that my offense wasn't really good tonight, so I had to focus on something else. I took it upon myself to pressure (the guards) and get something started so we could make a run."
Lassiter led the Tigers' balanced attack with 15 points, nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Barr scored 11 points while Unrau tallied nine points and seven rebounds.