The Maneater

Tiger women roll by Lamar, 106-57

When the MU women's basketball team finished off its 106-57 thrashing of Lamar, the level of excitement was just starting to peek — for the upcoming men's game.

At tip-off, the crowd at the Hearnes Center didn't exceed 100. But with a men's game following the conclusion of the women's game, the crowd was constantly growing. What they saw was the second 100-point performance by the Tigers (1-1) in the 1990s.

"I wasn't sure we were capable of scoring 100 points," said Missouri coach Joann Rutherford. "That was a good thing to see — that this team can step up and score and play for 40 minutes."

Lamar (1-3) took the first lead of the game on a Lisa McMahon layup 15 seconds into the game. Two minutes later, Missouri claimed the lead at 4-2 on a layup by Alison Lucy. MU would never relinquish that lead.

After that it was a slew of errors — 39 Lamar turnovers to MU's 32 — and a number of layups by Erika Martin that distanced the Tigers from the Lady Cardinal.

With five players scoring in double figures — Martin led all with 27 while Lucy added 23 — it was a solid team effort that helped Missouri overcome all of the turnovers.

"I think we came out more ready to play than before, and got up early," Martin said. "We were more relaxed, had more fun — If we messed up, we came back. We didn't just hang our heads."

Despite not starting the game, Martin paced the Tigers with a triple-double, grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists to go along with her 27 points. The effort broke Martin out of a funk, Rutherford said.

"Erika is basically, I feel, struggling in the last three games," Rutherford said. "There's more to Erika and our ball club than just scoring. I expect her to play defense. I expect her to pass. I expect her to rebound. Those things I have to see or she's not going to play. I think you saw tonight that she stepped up and started working on those things."

Lamar coach David McKey felt his team was more than helpful in Martin's quest to regain her form.

"We really made [Martin] look great when we let her shoot layup after layup after layup," McKey said. "When a player is as great as Erika Martin, you need to make her shoot some from the outside."

For the Tigers, the only concern in the game came at halftime. Leading 58-35, MU was focused on shutting down Lamar's one offensive stronghold — Lara Webb, who had 15 points at the break.

"In the locker room, we said 'We're not going to let [Lara Webb] get 30.' She was on her way," Rutherford said. "We couldn't let her drive to the hole in the second half."

But with a massive deficit to overcome, Webb started to force the issue and Lamar fell further behind. Webb scored only four points in the second half, finishing with 19.

"When you're down 23 at half, you're going to press," McKey said.

After the game, a dejected McKey bravely faced the media

"I've got to show up, even if my team didn't — face reality. Fire away," McKey said. "I discredit us for our lack of intensity."

The Tigers will host the Chesebrough-Ponds USA Mid America Classic this weekend, with Murray State, North Carolina-Wilmington and Sam Houston State in town.

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