As Missouri coach Robin Pingeton filed away her team’s 57-52 loss to Missouri State in front of 4,052 on Tuesday at the Sprint Center, she thought of the rebounds the Tigers didn’t get.
In the first half, Missouri State’s board work helped set the tone. In the game’s final minute, it made the difference.
“They clawed and fought and scrapped and found a way to hang in there,” Pingeton said. “When teams stay in the game because of hustle plays, it builds energy.”
The Bears’ lead was 55-52 when Missouri State’s Aubrey Buckley stepped to the line for two shots with 29.4 seconds remaining.
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Mizzou, 10-3, got precisely what it needed — two misses. But after a scramble, the ball went back to the Bears and Buckley went back to the line. She missed two more. This time Tyonna Snow chased down the rebound and was fouled.
Snow made the first and missed the second, but the Tigers were whistled for a lane violation. Snow, a former Blue Springs High star and daughter of former Chiefs linebacker Percy Snow, made the second. The game was out of reach for Missouri.
“It’s a good thing we chased them down because we missed a lot of them,” said Missouri State coach Kellie Harper, whose last visit to Kansas City as a competitor occurred as a Tennessee player in 1998, when the Vols completed a 39-0 season with an NCAA championship at Kemper Arena.
The Bears led nearly the entire game. Missouri took its lone lead with 5:12 remaining when perimeter specialist Morgan Eye curled off a screen and buried a three pointer. Eye, who has topped 100 three-pointers in each of the last two seasons, is 79 threes away from the career record that is shared by former Kansas State star Laurie Koehn.
“We had to get over the hump, and I thought the momentum had finally changed,” Eye said.
But Missouri State outscored MU 10-4 the rest of the way, and after starting the season with six straight losses, improved to 3-8 with its biggest victory of the season.