COLUMBIA — The MU women’s basketball team traveled to Boulder, Colo., for its regular season finale, trying to win for the second time in three games and gain some momentum going into next week’s Big 12 Conference tournament.
All-American forward Jackie McFarland and the rest of the Colorado Buffaloes made sure the Tigers would garner no such momentum. McFarland scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Buffaloes to a 63-47 victory at the Coors Events Center. McFarland grabbed her 1,000th career rebound early in the second half of her final home game as a Buffalo.
Shooting woes were the story of the game, and Missouri managed to have one of its worst offensive performances in a season full of them. The Tigers shot 25.4 percent from the field, making only 15-of-59 field goals.
Only four Tigers scored, and Alyssa Hollins, Amanda Hanneman and Jessra Johnson were the only players to make a shot. Johnson matched her career high with 24 points and recorded 10 rebounds, while Hollins added 16 points on the strength of four 3-pointers. She extended her own MU records for single-season and career 3-pointers made to 85 and 161, respectively. Freshman forward Shakara Jones, the team’s third-leading scorer at 11 points per game, was held scoreless for only the second time all season.
“We wanted to run through our offense a little more,” MU coach Cindy Stein said in a radio interview. “We just have to continue to get better. This is a group of young ladies that continues to get better every single game, and I know they are disappointed.”
With the loss, MU finishes the regular season at 9-20 overall and 2-14 in the Big 12, the worst mark in Stein’s 10 years in Columbia. Colorado finishes the season at 16-13 overall and is in ninth place at 5-11 in conference play.
Hollins hit a 3-pointer to give MU a 3-0 lead, but Colorado scored the next six points and the Tigers would never regain the lead. Marked by sloppy play and poor shooting, the Tigers’ offense didn’t hit another basket until Johnson made a driving layup with 10:40 to go to cut Colorado’s lead to 14-7.
Two straight 3-pointers, one by Hanneman and one by Johnson, cut the deficit to 20-17 with 5:13 to go in the first half. The Buffaloes took a 29-21 lead at the break.
Early in the second half, the Tigers cut the lead to 35-33 but could not get over the hump. Colorado used a 15-4 run to take an insurmountable 50-37 lead with under five minutes remaining.
“The fight to get back into it just wore us out,” Stein said. “There were too many breakdowns. It was a little disappointing, but at the same time, I like the way we battled.”
The Tigers have six days off before playing in the Big 12 Tournament at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium. Their opponent will be No. 11 Oklahoma, No. 17 Texas A&M or No. 20 Oklahoma State, depending on the results of tonight’s games.