COLUMBIA — Some shots clanked off the back of the rim. Others barely nicked it. Some hit off the backboard, then off the rim and then missed. Others missed the rim entirely.
The shots did everything except what they were supposed to do.
While the Missouri women’s basketball team struggled to put the ball in the basket, Iowa State moved into a tie for second place in the Big 12 Conference with a 65-39 victory over the Tigers on Sunday afternoon at Mizzou Arena. Missouri's point total was the lowest for the Tigers since they scored 37 points in a loss to Texas in 2008.
“These are the games, you’ve just got to throw out,” Missouri coach Cindy Stein said. “The only option is to keep fighting …We’re not going to quit.”
Missouri began Sunday’s game 3-for-27 from the floor. Meanwhile, Iowa State shot 55 percent in the first half. To make things worse, the Cyclones outrebounded the Tigers 28-10 in the first half. The Cyclones led 39-15 at halftime. On the offensive end, Iowa State worked the shot clock down to the final seconds on a number of possessions.
“Iowa State is a team, if you’re not careful, they lull you asleep,” RaeShara Brown said.
In the first 11 minutes of the game, the Tigers scored four points. Cyclone freshman Chelsea Poppens nearly outscored the entire Missouri team in the first half with her 14 first-half points.
“As I told them at one of the timeouts, I felt like we were having a little pity party,” Stein said. “We’ve got to get tougher.”
To Stein, the troubling part of the performance was not necessarily the poor shooting. It was the lack of hustle after the missed shots. The Cyclones scored at least three layups in the first half because they simply beat the slow Tigers down the floor.
“Those things are unacceptable,” Stein said. “Not running the floor hard. And that’s kids getting down … Inexcusable.”
If only the Tigers could have began the game like they did the second half. The Tigers began the half on a 7-0 run. Missouri kept the deficit under 20 points for much of the half, but then the Cyclones went back to its strength — 3-point shooting.
Iowa State leads the Big 12 in 3-point percentage (.412) and 3-pointers made per game (8.1). Late in the game, the Cyclones hit a flurry of threes to extend their lead, finishing with seven in the game.
Cyclones senior Alison Lacey led all scorers with 18 points. Missouri junior RaeShara Brown had 12 points, the only Tigers player in double digits.
The Tigers are now a .500 team (11-11, 1-8) after starting the season 10-2. It has not been the breakout season Stein was hoping for, especially considering this season is the last year on her current contract. It is unclear what Steins’ status for next season is. However, the Tigers are continuing to look for positives.
“Being negative is not going to get us anywhere,” senior Toy Richbow said.
The Tigers travel to play at Kansas State at 7 p.m. Wednesday. If the Tigers want to get back to winning, something needs to change.
“Obviously, we’re struggling,” Stein said. “So, we’ve got to look within ourselves.”