Guard Kishaun Williams came in with two minutes left in the Missouri women's basketball team's game against No. 9 Xavier on Wednesday in Cincinnati. The brief spell of play began poorly for Williams when she turned over the ball, but she quickly made up for it with a steal, grabbing the ball from Xavier guard Megan Askew.
On the ensuing offensive possession, Williams found herself in the right place again when she grabbed a rebound off a missed shot by Tigers forward BreAnna Brock. A foul was called on Xavier guard Lynette Holmes for reaching over the back of Williams, giving the Missouri guard an opportunity to shoot at the free-throw line for her first points as a Tiger. The freshman capitalized on both foul shots.
In Xavier's 83-51 victory, the late effort was a hopeful sign. Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said she was not disappointed in her team's intensity.
"For as disappointed as I was in our Florida State game (a 75-43 loss Sunday), I'm much more pleased after this game," Pingeton said in a radio interview after the game. "Satisfied? Absolutely not. But at least the effort, the focus, the energy was still there."
Missouri faced an 8-0 deficit early before senior RaeShara Brown made two free throws. Down six points just five minutes into the game, the Tigers never got closer. The Musketeers led by as many 34 points late in the second half. The loss drops Missouri to 8-6 going into Big 12 Conference play.
"It's lack of depth," Pingeton said. "But if you're going to put on a Missouri uniform and you're going to represent me and my staff, there's a certain way we're going to play, and we maybe had a player or so that didn't understand that out of the gates after watching a two-and-a-half hour session of film."
Missouri forward Christine Flores was the only player in the game with a double-digit scoring total at halftime with 11, and Xavier had built a 41-21 lead. Brown was a big part of Flores' early success, accumulating five assists in the first half. She finished with seven assists and a team-high 15 points. Flores finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, and senior forward Shakara Jones added 13 points and six rebounds.
But Pingeton is searching for more players to step up for her team.
"We don't have a lot of options off the bench, but we're going to continue to find players that are going to give us that energy that we need night-in and night-out," Pingeton said.
Xavier stuck to its game plan and depended on inside play from 6-foot-5 forward Amber Harris and 6-foot-6 center Ta’Shia Phillips, who both contributing 16 points. But the Musketeers surprised Missouri by making 10 3-point shots. Seven different Xavier players shot 42 percent from beyond the arc.
"There guards are good, and statistically, I don't know if it really shows up how good they are because they can rely so much on their inside game," Pingeton said. "And they're on their home court, coming off two tough losses."
Pingeton said the fight was there from Missouri, but as she continued to implement a faster pressing style, her players turned over the ball 18 times.
We had some uncharacteristic turnovers . . ." Pingeton said. "But we had some heart-to-hearts over the last couple of days, and so you take the court and say, 'I want this so bad,' so the effort's where it needs to be."