COLUMBIA — A 9-0 run two minutes into the second half gave Texas A&M a 32-point lead. Robin Pingeton took her fourth time out of the game.
As she gave instructions to her team, Christine Flores stood at the back of the huddle with her hands on her hips. There was nothing she could do.
A broken finger on her shooting hand sidelined Flores on Saturday in the Missouri women’s basketball team’s 85-40 loss against No. 7 Texas A&M at Mizzou Arena. Without Flores, the Tigers’ offense sputtered.
“We just couldn’t seem to find a flow on offense,” senior RaeShara Brown said. “You play 15, 16 games trying to get your chemistry right throughout the season.”
BreAnna Brock started for Missouri and played a season-high 27 minutes. She scored five points and grabbed nine rebounds.
“I think Bre came in and did as best she could trying to fight off the post players on defense and pin for position,” Brown said. “But it’s just asking a lot to be thrown in there when the offense was running as smoothly as it was.”
Although the guards committed most of the Tigers’ season-high 27 turnovers, Brown said Flores’ presence would’ve helped.
“I feel like A&M’s pressure defense would have been the same,” Brown said. “But her presence would have been felt, I know, tonight and probably would’ve relieved some of that pressure.”
Flores’ absence seemed irrelevant in opening minutes of the game when Brock scored a quick basket and Missouri jumped out to a 5-0 lead. But Missouri’s lack of depth in the interior quickly allowed Texas A&M to take control of the game.
The Tigers used a combination of Brock, Bailey Gee and freshman Paige Spietz to try to fill the void left by Flores. None of the three have much experience in Big 12 play.
“I don’t know that you can do anything to teach experience,” Pingeton said. “You gotta throw them out there and let them play.”
Defensively, the Tigers tried to make up for Flores’ absence by packing the paint to try to slow down Texas A&M center Danielle Adams.
“They were sagging in,” Adams said. “So it gave our other posts open shots and it gave our guards the open three, which they took.”
The Tigers held Adams, a Kansas City native, to six points on 3–of-11 shooting in the first half, but she came on strong in the second half and finished the game with 19 points to lead the Aggies.
“She started forcing her shots,” Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said. “There’s not too many post players in this league that have a power game and an outside game. You didn’t see her best at all.”
Pingeton said Flores is day-to-day, but the Tigers aren’t going to rush anything.
“As much as we’d love to have her out there today and next week, I think we’ve really got to be smart about it,” Pingeton said. “This year it’s about the process and getting better and hopefully putting ourselves in a position to win some games down the stretch. We’ve got to have Christine healthy coming back. I don’t think putting her out there too soon and risking it is worth it.”