With 31 seconds left in a second half in which it had never trailed, the Missouri women's basketball team took the floor Saturday at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill., after a timeout, ready to inbound the ball and leading by two points.
Five seconds later, Missouri's Toy Richbow was still holding the ball out of bounds.
The turnover allowed Holy Cross to tie the game with 13 seconds left, and slowly, the Tigers' second win of the season slipped away.
Richbow was fouled after rebounding Missouri's final shot of regulation, but the officials eventually decided she was fouled after the buzzer had sounded and took away the chance for the junior to win the game at the free-throw line.
Missouri coach Cindy Stein did not agree.
“I think they need to review that, and I think they need to review the five-second call," Stein said by phone after the game. "You know, you hope they do, and until I see it, I can’t really comment. At the time, I didn’t agree with it, but like any coach, you want to look at it.”
However, Stein admitted her team still had plenty of chances to beat the Crusaders.
"Whether it was missed free throws or missed open looks, I think that obviously we’ve been putting ourselves in a position to win," she said. "We’ve just got to do a little bit better job of taking that extra step without being so hesitant about it."
Missouri made just nine of its 17 free throws, and had 18 second-chance points despite grabbing 27 offensive rebounds.
"We kind of put ourselves in that hole, and we can’t complain about things that don’t go your way at the end," Stein said.
And things certainly did not to go Missouri's way at the end of the three overtime periods that were needed decide the game.
With the score still tied at the end of the first overtime, the Tigers had possession for the final 32 seconds but managed only a failed 3-point try as time expired.
Jessra Johnson missed two free throws with 11.6 seconds on the clock, and, after an offensive rebound, Alyssa Hollins' 3-point attempt missed and the second overtime ended tied at 85.
Hollins got the final shot of the third overtime period as well, but the senior, who this game became the 26th player in Missouri history to score 1,000 career points, missed again, and Missouri lost 94-93.
The win was the first of the season for Holy Cross (1-4) while the loss dropped the Tigers record to 1-4 on the year, the worst start to a season the program has had.
“I feel like we played not to lose instead of Holy Cross," Stein said. "They were playing relentless, they were playing to win. They don’t have any pressure. We’re supposed to beat them, and we played that way."
Hollins played 54 minutes and finished the game with 27 points, including 7 3-pointers, but she made just one shot after regulation ended, a 3-pointer in the first overtime.
Shakara Jones had 22 points and seven rebounds in the loss while Johnson finished with 21 points and nine rebounds.
Holy Cross was led by Briana McFadden who scored 31 points, including all nine of her team's points in the third overtime. Tayana Carper had 24 points for the Crusaders.
Missouri will continue play at the DoubleTree White Invitational at 3 p.m. Sunday against host Northwestern.