When junior guard Alyssa Hollins, sophomore forward Jessra Johnson and freshman forward Shakara Jones were stifled by Texas on Saturday, there was nobody to pick up the slack for the Missouri women’s basketball team. The Tigers have relied on those three to score and when they didn’t, MU’s offense sputtered.
That happened again against Texas as the Longhorns’ (15-5, 3-3) defense smothered the Tigers (8-11, 1-5) on Saturday holding them to 16-for-48 shooting and a season-low 37 points in a 67-37 loss to Texas in Austin.
Texas constantly put pressure on MU by trapping on the perimeter and playing tough man-to-man defense to force 23 Tiger turnovers and MU’s worst offensive game of the season. Tigers coach Cindy Stein said the Longhorns’ defense wasn’t the problem. Instead it was a lack of production from supporting players who Stein said needed to want to score more.
“We practiced the last two days against that (pressure defense), but you have to have five people that want the ball,” Stein said in a radio interview. “We had a group in there where we didn’t have five people that wanted the ball, they were hiding.”
Hollins, Johnson and Jones each had off nights, but they still combined for most of MU’s offense. They shot 36 of MU’s 48 shots and scored 28 of the team’s 37 points. Only three other players took a shot and sophomore forward Amanda Hanneman (five points) was the only other player to score more than two points. Stein said part of the problem came because the players have trouble getting back on track if the team goes cold.
“Our kids get down when we do that and that’s where we have to step up and play,” Stein said.
MU also struggled to get its three-point shooting game going. The Tigers entered the game third in the conference in three-point shooting making almost seven per game, but they were only 4-14 from beyond the arc against the Longhorns. It was the second straight poor shooting game from beyond the arc for the Tigers who made just three three-pointers against Baylor on Wednesday.
Despite the offensive struggles, MU kept it close for most of the first half. The Tigers closed to within three when Hollins hit a three-pointer with 7:21 to play in the half, but that was as close as MU would come as the Longhorns outscored them 47-20 the rest of the game.
The Tigers play next when they travel back to the Lone Star State to face No. 21 Texas A&M in College Station on Tuesday.