COLUMBIA — There was nothing spectacular or flashy about Shakara Jones' basket less than two minutes into the second half. She received a pass from RaeShara Brown, took one hard dribble and with two hands put in her fourth basket of the game.
But the basket was significant. It gave the senior forward 1,000 points for her career, making her the 28th Missouri women's basketball player to score quadruple digits.
Jones went on to score 13 points and grab eight rebounds in the Tigers' 68-65 victory over California-Riverside on Tuesday at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers improve to 7-4 after their fourth straight victory.
Jones downplayed the significance of the milestone, saying she didn't even think about it until after the game and emphasizing that the win was more important.
"I wasn't worrying about it during the game," she said. "I'm glad to hit the milestone. Glad to get the opportunity to hit it. Glad we got the win, also."
Not surprisingly, Jones was a reliable presence in the post on Tuesday. She has been nothing but reliable during her tenure at Missouri. In 102 games the Tigers have played since the start of the 2007-08 season, Jones has appeared in every one and started all but five.
The Tigers were in control of Tuesday's game for most of the second half. They held a 65-55 lead with two minutes left in the game, but a run by the Highlanders cut the lead to 66-63 with 11 seconds to play. Brown was fouled and hit two free throws to essentially seal the win for the Tigers.
"I thought the way we executed at the very end was unacceptable," coach Robin Pingeton said. "We got loose with the ball. We didn't finish the way we should have."
Though upset with the finish, Pingeton said she was happy that her team found a way to hold on, and that there was a lot of teachable moments from the ending.
Although they led most of the way, The Tigers got off to a slow start. When California-Riverside guard Tre'Shonti Nottingham made a layup 5 minutes and 15 seconds into the game to give the the Highlanders a 13-4 lead, Missouri coach Robin Pingeton called a timeout. The next 30 seconds consisted of an animated Pingeton emphatically pointing at a frustrated group of players. What followed was a 33-17 Tiger run to close out the half.
"Two rules," Pingeton said when asked what she told her players during the timeout. "What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room. What happens in the huddle stays in the huddle. I'm sure I just encouraged them, gave them a couple pats on the back and said 'we got this.' I think they're starting to understand my intensity, the passion I coach with."
Despite the rule, Brown quickly summarized what Pingeton said.
"She broke it down for us," Brown said. "We just absolutely weren't playing hard."
The run at the end of the first half was highlighted, uncharacteristically, by five Tiger 3-pointers. The Tigers were only shooting 24 percent from 3-point range coming into the game but were 5-10 from beyond the arc in the first half Tuesday, including a four-point play on a bank shot by Christine Flores.
"I just heard the cheering and Rae on top of me," Flores said. "I didn't see it (go in)."
That's the kind of shooting night it was for Flores. The junior forward was 4-0f-4 on 3-pointers and scored a team-high 21 points. Also scoring in double figures were Brown (13) and Sydney Crafton (10).