COLUMBIA — Alyssa Hollins had uncharacteristically bad first half Friday night against South Dakota State. She scored just two points, making one of five shots from the field.
It turns out she had had an uncharacteristically bad day as well.
The lone senior on Missouri women's basketball team, and its leading scorer from a year ago, had contracted a particularly bad case of the stomach flu Thursday night and spent Friday being treated.
“I got to the Student Health Center and she couldn’t find my veins,” said Hollins, who raised her hands from behind the podium to show bloodied band-aids on both wrists. “She stuck me like eight times.”
Eventually Hollins was able to fall asleep while she was administered two bags of IV fluids, which were squeezed by Health Center employees in order to move the process along.
She arrived at Mizzou Arena about an hour before the game and missed the team's warm-up, which she said led to her slow start.
"By the time the second half came around, you know they had pulled it closer a little bit together and I’m like I need to do something — if I’m out here running up and down I need to look for my shot.”
Hollins made five of her 10 second half shots, finishing the game with 13 points, but it was not enough. The Tigers lost the Jackrabbits 55-50.
"You don’t want to make excuses," Missouri coach Cindy Stein said after the game. "Alyssa obviously had been sick and hadn’t slept a lot, hadn’t eaten all day. She really gutted it out tonight, but we have to be in a position as a team to take care of her when that happens, and I think we’ll get better."
With its most prolific scorer sick and struggling, Missouri's bench players scored just four points in the first half, and no players other than Hollins, Jessra Johnson and Shakara Jones scored for the Tigers in the second half.
“It’s a hard first game to have something like that happen to your leader," Stein said. "Like I said we’re still young — we only have one senior — so it was a good teaching moment I just didn’t want it the very first game, but we’ll get better for it."
Hollins managed multiple smiles after the game as she talked about her team's loss and her long day.
“It was a little different, but you know, things happen," she said.