COLUMBIA — As the clock wound down in the first half, Sydney Crafton received a skip pass on the right wing. She couldn't shoot. There was a defender in her face. She pump faked and took a dribble to her left, but it was too late. The buzzer sounded to end the half.
Florida State's defensive pressure flustered the Missouri women's basketball team Sunday at Mizzou Arena. The Seminoles, ranked 25th in the nation, held the Tigers to a 26 percent field goal percentage and left Columbia with an easy 75-43 win.
"Florida State played a good defense, but I also think we missed a lot of easy baskets," RaeShara Brown said. "That's inexcusable. We got some great looks at the basket in the first half, and we just didn't finish. Sometimes that comes from a lack of focus."
Despite getting blown out, the Tigers got off to a fast start. They held an 11-7 lead less than five minutes into the game. But a 13-0 run gave the Seminoles a 10-point lead they would never relinquish.
It didn't help that Missouri's offense went cold for the rest of the first half. The Tigers (8-5) scored just 10 points in the final 15 minutes of the half.
"All of a sudden, we couldn't hit a basket," Brown said. "When you're not scoring and you're trying to play defense and they're scoring, it becomes a chain reaction. And the momentum just shifted totally away from us."
Florida State coach Sue Semrau said the Seminoles started to play better defense.
"As soon as we started to play faster, they (Missouri) got a little bit uncomfortable," Semrau said.
Early in the game, Brown hit Christine Flores on a backdoor cut for an easy layup to give the Tigers a 5-2 lead. She smiled and pointed at Flores as the Tigers got back on defense. After the Seminoles run, her smile faded and never returned.
Brown is used to blowing by her defender and getting to the basket, but she was frustrated all day long by double teams on the perimeter. She scored 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting, with all of her field goals coming on 3-pointers.
Stopping Brown was part of the game plan for Florida State.
"Christian Hunnicutt is such an unsung hero for us," Semrau said. "We put her on Brown. That's a lot of work to do on that kid. We told our team, there's no way that Christian can stop this kid on her own. It has to be great team defense. You have to pick your poison. So we helped off on some other kids because we know how good she is."
Although Brown was getting a lot of attention, the rest of the Tigers didn't get many good looks at the basket either. There were several air balls due to the shot clock running down. And when the Tigers did get good looks, the shots just weren't falling.
"You're going to make it a long day when you can't score your layups and free throws," Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. "On the other end, as much as you want to keep the focus and intensity on defense, that's a hard, hard thing to do to get your players to stay locked in and assignment correct when your shots aren't falling."
The loss snaps Missouri's five-game winning streak. Pingeton said she wouldn't necessarily classify the loss as a step back, but she was definitely not happy with how her team played.
"There were a couple of huddles today, which I was very disappointed," Pingeton said. "I didn't see the fire in their eyes. I'm not used to that."