Three-point barrage buries MU women's basketball team

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | 10:13 p.m. CST; updated 11:13 p.m. CST, Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Shakara Jones, 44, posts up as Nicky Wieben, 5, defends at the MU women’s basketball game against the Iowa State Cyclones at Mizzou Arena on March 3. The Tigers lost the game, 62-47.

COLUMBIA—Looking at the box score from the Missouri women’s basketball team’s 62-47 loss to No. 24-ranked Iowa State on Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena, it would appear the two teams matched up evenly. The two teams posted similar totals in nearly every statistical category including field goal percentage, rebounds, assists and turnovers.

But there was a glaring discrepancy in one area that played an enormous role in the final outcome. The Cyclones made 11 of their 19 three-point attempts while the Tigers shot only one-for-eight from behind the arc.

Iowa State’s final numbers aren’t surprising. Coming in, the Cyclones were shooting 34 percent from behind the 3-point line, which is second in the Big 12.

“It’s a big part of our game,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “And certainly gave us a working margin tonight, and they seemed to come at really really big times. The three-point shot is a big shot in the women’s game, and certainly for us, it was really big tonight.”

The Cyclones started the second half by hitting six of their first seven 3-point attempts. After the game, Missouri sophomore RaeShara Brown admitted seeing that barrage of 3-pointers was demoralizing for her team.

“I don’t want to say it killed our morale,” Brown said. “But it kind of put the dagger in our heart, when you’re working to try to get back in the game.”

“You see those shots falling and it’s like oh my God, another one,” Brown said.

Perhaps no shot was bigger than the 25-footer that Iowa State senior Heather Ezell sank with just under three minutes remaining as the shot clock was running down. The shot came in the midst of a Missouri run that saw the Tigers cut Iowa State’s lead from 18 down to eight.

“I felt like we were in the battle,” Missouri coach Cindy Stein said. “We just needed some things to go our way, and I felt like all night we weren’t getting anything to go our way and it was very frustrating.”

Stein said her players knew what to expect from the Cyclones’ offense. She said the reason they’ve won as many games as they have is because of their movement on offense. 

“You’ve got to win the bang-bang plays because of their screening action,” Stein said. “They’ll send an on-ball (screen) into a back screen into a player screen. Those are bang-bang plays that you’ve got to react to and you’ve got to move and if you give them one slip of an opening they knock it down.”

But as discouraging as the loss was for the Tigers, senior Alyssa Hollins said the margin separating the Tigers from the better teams in the conference is minimal.

“It’s all about the little things,” Hollins said. “Like one little box out and not letting them capitalize on another three. It’s another lesson learned and we’re just going to keep working.”


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