Tigers suffer setback on the road

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | 10:02 p.m. CST; updated 10:50 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Missouri's Shakara Jones, left, and Iowa State's Nicky Wieben chase after a loose ball Wednesday in the Tigers' loss at Iowa State.

To call Missouri's loss to Iowa State on Wednesday night a setback might be an understatement.

After a one-point victory over Nebraska on Saturday, the Tigers' women's basketball team appeared to be making progress. But Missouri scored only 14 points in the first half on Wednesday, the program's  second lowest total for one half  and the lowest since it managed only 13 points against Texas Tech on Jan. 28, 2003.

The Tigers ended up falling to the Cyclones 65-42 and not a single Tiger scored in double-figures.

But despite all that, Missouri coach Cindy Stein said her team played hard throughout the game. She said this was just a game where it simply was not her team’s night.

“I thought we played hard in the second half,” Stein said by phone. “I thought we did a lot better defending them obviously. But we struggled hitting shots and we struggled getting to the free-throw line all day.”

The Tigers finished the game with only six free-throw attempts while the Cyclones ended up with 24 trips to the line. Stein refused to criticize the officiating after the game but admitted that she didn’t think her team could have done much more to earn more free-throw attempts.

“I’m not allowed to comment on officiating,” Stein said. “But I will tell you we attacked the basket the entire second half.”

Stein said she thought the game was a learning experience for her team. Throughout Missouri’s nonconference schedule the Tigers were able to force opposing teams into committing a large number of turnovers. But the Tigers’ pressure defense hasn’t been as effective in Big 12 Conference play, which Stein blames on a lack of communication on her team’s part.

“It exposed one of our weaknesses,” Stein said. “Our weakness is that we don’t talk a lot on defense. They’ve (Iowa State) got a lot of screening action going on, and if you’re not communicating well, then they can pick you apart and that’s exactly what happened.”

No Tiger struggled more than senior guard Alyssa Hollins. The Tigers’ leading scorer finished with five points and missed all but two of her 12 shot attempts. Hollins’ low shooting percentage is something the Tigers have been forced to become accustomed to this season. She is shooting 29 percent from the field, which is the lowest percentage of her career.

“It can’t be a head game with her,” Stein said. “And I think that’s the most important thing. The way a good shooter gets into a rhythm is she has to get a lot of extra shots in and that’s our next step. We’ve just got to fit that in between classes now.

The loss drops the Tigers to 10-7 and 1-3 in the Big 12. Iowa State moves to 14-4 and 2-2 in conference play. The Tigers’ next game is against Colorado at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena.

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