Women's basketball falls to Oklahoma State, now 1-5 in conference

Missouri suffered from a weak offense.
Freshman forward Christine Flores is defended by Oklahoma State's Jennifer Wallenmeyer while driving toward the basket during Wednesday's game at Mizzou Arena.

It was the end of the first half, and Missouri was in the process of making a run to tighten the score game against Oklahoma State.

The Tigers had a 9-0 run going, having cut a 14-point deficit to five with only a few seconds left on the clock. But then, OSU junior guard Andrea Riley flew down the court and laid the ball in as time expired, ending Missouri's run and giving the Cowgirls a seven-point lead going into the half.

That sequence typified Oklahoma State's 68-60 win against the Tigers. Every time Missouri was able to go on a run to tighten the game, OSU always had a response.

"Momentum is a huge thing on the road," OSU coach Kurt Budke said. "I think the girls did a good job of stopping it every time there was a run."

Another instance of the Cowgirls ending Missouri's momentum occurred in the second half, when Oklahoma State's senior guard Taylor Hardeman threw up a three-pointer that arched high, kissed off the backboard and went in. The three extended OSU's lead to 50-42, and Missouri never got any closer than seven for the rest of the game.

"It seems like all year we've watched other teams bank one in," Budke said. "This time it was finally us, so it felt good to finally get one."

The Cowgirls were led by preseason All-Big 12 player Riley, who scored 30 points on 11 of 23 shootings, including four of eight from three-point range.

"She's a terrific player, we knew she was going to get a lot of points," coach Cindy Stein said of Riley. "It probably puts more pressure on your offense, because we've got to come down to score."

Meanwhile, the Tigers were led with 17 points from senior guard Alyssa Hollins, who shot five of 18 from the field. The loss dropped the Tigers to 10-9, and 1-5 in the Big 12.

Junior guard Toy Richbow, along with sophomore guard RaeShara Brown, drew the assignment of guarding Riley, who is averaging 22 points per game.

"It's pretty difficult because she is a pretty quick guard, so I try to just contain her and keep her in front," Richbow said.

Missouri suffered a prolonged offensive slump to start the game, and had only six points in the first half until freshman guard Bekah Mills made a layup with 9:47 left. By then, Missouri already trailed OSU by eight points.

"We can't keep digging these holes for ourselves and trying to dig ourselves out of them," Stein said. Stein also suggested that she might tinker with the starting lineup, saying that she wasn't "very happy with some of our play and our consistency."

"When you look at them run up the floor it looks like they've got a piano on their back," Stein said.

The Tigers' schedule doesn't get any easier, as they play consecutive road games at Oklahoma and Kansas State. The Sooners and the Wildcats have just three losses between them this year.

"You've got to stay positive," Hollins said. "It's a long season, you have to take everything and get back to work."

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