Hollins' late flurry leads Tigers past Razorbacks

Sunday, December 21, 2008 | 8:52 p.m. CST; updated 9:17 p.m. CST, Sunday, December 21, 2008

After the Missouri women’s basketball team’s blowout victory over UT Martin a week ago, MU coach Cindy Stein talked about her team’s next game against Arkansas, and she couldn’t help looking back at last year. A year ago, the Razorbacks came to Mizzou Arena and beat the Tigers 66-53.
“That’s a game we felt we let slip away last year,” Stein said after the Tigers’ Dec. 14 game against UT Martin.

A year later, some might say the roles were reversed. The Tigers (6-4) defeated Arkansas (9-3) on Sunday at Fayetteville, Ark., despite shooting just better than 30 percent from the floor, missing nearly half their free throws and not leading in the second half until the final two minutes of the game.

But Missouri was able to force 24 turnovers and senior Alyssa Hollins hit a three-pointer at the 1:16 mark to put Missouri up 52-51. Seconds later Hollins picked up a steal, was fouled and made both her free throws to extend the Tigers’ lead to 54-51.

The Razorbacks trailed 56-53 with six seconds left and had a chance to tie the game but Arkansas freshman Ceira Ricketts scored a layup with 1.4 seconds remaining and the Tigers were able to inbound the ball and escape with a 56-55 victory.

Hollins’ flurry came after she struggled for most of the game. She finished with 16 points but shot only 6-of-21 from the floor and 2-of-12 from beyond the three-point line. But this season Hollins has had a knack for elevating her game when her team has needed her the most, and that was the case again on Sunday. Hollins scored seven of her points in the final 3:04.

The Tigers ended the game on a 13-4 run after falling behind 51-43 with 3:50 remaining. They also made their final 11 free throws after missing 12 of their first 15 shots from the line.

The game was evenly contested throughout the first half with the biggest lead either team holding being four points. The teams tied on six occasions and exchanged leads eight times.

Junior forward Jessra Johnson led the Tigers with 17 points and nine rebounds.

The Tigers will not play again until they face Southeast Missouri St. at 2 p.m. on Dec. 29 at Mizzou Arena. Tip-off was  scheduled for 6:30 p.m. but has been moved up to accommodate fans that want to make it home to watch the Missouri football team play in the Alamo Bowl at 7 p.m. later that night.

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