Tigers end losing streak against K State

The Missouri women's basketball team's losing streak is over.

Tuesday night's 72-56 victory against Kansas State (7-6 overall, 1-2 Big 12) was the Tigers' (9-5, 1-3) first since Dec. 20, ending a four-game skid and a three-game winless streak in conference play.

"We had a rough stretch against some tough opponents," said coach Joann Rutherford. "This was a big win for us."

Sophomore forward Julie Helm led the Tigers in scoring with 25, including 10-of-12 from the free-throw line.

Junior forward Kesha Bonds collected her seventh double-double of the season, pouring in 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

"We made the big step, Bonds said. "We were tired of losing. I knew we would win tonight."

Missouri also received help from sophomore forward Ekpe Akpaffiong, who added 16 points off the bench, senior guard Debra "Smokey" Williams (six points, six assists), and freshman guard Kendra Jones, who dished out a career-high seven assists.

The Tigers used a 15-4 run to open up a 24-11 lead in the first half, and led 35-21 at halftime.

Kansas State clawed back to trail by seven midway through the second half before the Tigers closed them out with a 14-5 run.

"We came out a little too cautious in the second half," Rutherford said. "But we came back and made some good decisions."

The Tigers took advantage of 25 turnovers by the Wildcats. They stifled senior guard Brit Jacobson, Kansas State's leading scorer at 14.6 points a game, holding her to just four points on 1-of-3 shooting.

"We knew Brit was their leading scorer," Williams said. "So we wanted to keep the pressure on her."

Freshman forward Brandy Harris led the Wildcats in scoring with 18.

The Tigers continue Big 12 play at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Hearnes Center, when they take on arch-rival Kansas.

"This win gives us a lot of momentum against Kansas," Rutherford said.

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