Women's basketball loses to Longhorns despite strong play

The basketball team suffered from fouls.
Sophomore forward Shakara Jones puts up a shot past Texas' Ashley Lindsey and Earnesia Williams during Tuesday's game at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers came out strong against the Longhorns but couldn't finish, losing 66-56.

For the first 10 minutes, it seemed the Missouri women's basketball team was going to take down another ranked opponent at home. But they couldn't hold down the sleeping giant for a full 40 minutes, as the Texas Longhorns came back to win 66-56.

"This game was a real hard fought game," coach Cindy Stein said. "It came down to a few possessions. But we battled defensively, and we battled on the boards. For the most part, I thought we were active, we were moving. We made adjustments."

The Tigers stifled the Longhorns' potent offense, holding them to nine points in the game's first 10 minutes. In that time span, Missouri forced four turnovers and nabbed two steals as well. As a result, the Tigers found themselves sitting on a 19-9 lead.

But Texas slowly began climbing back during the next five minutes. The Longhorns went on a 15-3 run keyed by Columbia's own Yvonne Anderson. Anderson is the daughter of the men's basketball coach Mike Anderson. The freshman guard sank a jumper, then followed it up with a free throw. On the very next play, Anderson assisted junior guard Brittainey Raven's layup, which put the Longhorns up 22-21. They would never trail again. As for Anderson, she had a good time playing back home.

"I was really excited about my opportunity to play here in front of my friends and family," Anderson said.

By the time the second half rolled around, Missouri found itself in a 30-24 hole. It did not help that junior forward Jessra Johnson and sophomore forward Shakara Jones had combined for three points in the first half. Johnson was in foul trouble early, with two in the first six minutes. However, the two took over for the Tigers early in the second half.

Jones hit a three to close Texas' gap to 32-29. Then Johnson added two free throws and a field goal, contributing to her 16 points of the night. It was not enough as the Longhorns were able to keep pace.

"Getting in foul trouble early, you've just got to keep it up on the bench, keep everyone involved," Johnson said. "And then I tried to make it up as much as I can when I got back in the second half."

The Tigers also got strong play from senior guard Alyssa Hollins. The lone senior's two early 3-pointers gave Missouri a comfortable lead. She was also the go-to player down the stretch, hitting another late trey to pull Missouri within seven. Hollins finished as the Tigers' leading scorer with 18 points on the night. All personal stats aside, she was visibly upset with the outcome of the game.

"We came out knocking shot down, we had a good rhythm about us," she said. "Unfortunately, it's been the story all season -- 'we're right there, we're right there.' It's the end of February, we've got to start making plays. This league is too good to just be staying 'right there.'"

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