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Tigers can't stop Oklahoma State's Riley

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 | 10:14 p.m. CST; updated 11:54 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Oklahoma State junior Andrea Riley dribbles down the court in the Tigers' 68-60 loss to the Cowgirls. Riley leads the Big 12 in scoring with 23 points per game.

COLUMBIA — After her team dropped its fifth game in six tries, Missouri women’s basketball coach Cindy Stein talked about her team’s effort on defense.

“We just wanted to make sure we were forcing them a little wide and picking them up early,” Stein said. “We really wanted to contain them so they didn’t get so much into their offense. And for the most part we did those things really well.”

Stein added that she didn’t think the reason her team fell 68-60 to Oklahoma State on Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena was because of its defense. Surprising words considering Oklahoma State junior guard Andrea Riley scored 30 points against the Tigers.

Riley is leading the Big 12 Conference in scoring with 23 points per game and will likely receive some consideration for Big 12 player of the year at season’s end. On Wednesday, she got her points in a variety of ways. She hit layups on breakaways. She shot well from behind the three-point arc from places that would make Reggie Miller blush. And she earned eight trips to the free-throw line. She also managed five assists and opened numerous shots for her teammates who were the benefactors of the defensive attention Riley was commanding.

“You’re going to have open looks when you play with an outstanding point guard like this,” Cowgirls coach Kurt Budke said.

The Tigers spent the night trying to contain Riley by rotating three different defenders on her. Sophomore Raeshara Brown, junior Toy Richbow and redshirt freshman Bekah Mills all spent time on Riley. At times, they seemed to be having some success. Brown finished with two steals and Richbow forced Riley into several turnovers (Riley finished with five). But ultimately, Riley found a way to get her points. And that was something that Stein said was, to an extent, inevitable.

“You saw the shots she put up,” Stein said. “I think one skimmed off the scoreboard. She’s just a terrific player, great touch.”

Richbow said players have to know that when they’re guarding Riley, she is going to keep attacking regardless of how she’s playing. She added that the key is to not become frustrated when she goes on a scoring streak.

“You pretty much know she’s going to kind of go for hers,” Richbow said. “So I just try not to worry about her next move and just try to contain her and keep her in front and just keep going hard. She’s going to make some big shots, and I just can’t hang my head.”


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