The Missouri women’s basketball team made a furious comeback Sunday, but it came up just short in a 56-50 loss to No. 10 Tennessee.
The Vols led by 16 with 11 minutes left before Missouri closed to 50-47 on Bri Kulas’ layup with 1:22 left. Tennessee held off the Tigers by hitting their free throws down the stretch.
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Kulas finished with 22 points and Morgan Eye added 15 for the Tigers, 16-11, 5-9 in the SEC, who only trailed by one point at halftime despite shooting two of 15 from three-point range before the break.
Missouri, which ranks third in the country and first in the SEC with 9.5 three-pointers per game, missed its first nine attempts from beyond the arc before Kayla McDowell’s long-range attempt connected 9 1/2 minutes into the game.
Only four players scored for the Tigers, who finished seven of 32 from three-point range.
“Our shots just weren’t falling tonight,” Kulas said. “But we’re still going to continue to shoot those shots because we have confidence in ourselves and we know we can knock down those shots.”
The schools met for the first time since Missouri upset then-No. 9 Tennessee 80-63 on Feb. 3, 2013. Officials announced attendance at 5,017, the highest this season for Missouri.
Eye gave the Tigers their first lead of the game with 3:30 remaining before the break, hitting her first three-pointer in six attempts to give Missouri a 22-21 advantage.
Missouri’s lead lasted only 22 seconds, though, as Meighan Russell converted a layup and Andraya Carter added another to give Tennessee a 23-22 halftime edge. The Vols then started the second half on a 18-5 run before Eye ended the run with a three-pointer with 11:19 left.
The Vols outrebounded Missouri 48-35 and limited the Tigers to six free throws despite playing a pressure defense.
“We talked about that before the game, really having an attack mentality,” Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. “But you’re not going to get a lot of free throws when you shoot as many threes as we did tonight.”