When the Missouri women’s basketball team headed into the locker room at halftime, the box score wasn’t pretty.
Christine Flores was leading the Tigers with seven points on 2-of-7 shooting. No other player had more than two points. The Tigers were shooting 30.4 percent from the field while Iowa State shot 51.7 percent. It added up to a 39-19 Cyclone lead at the break.
Missouri outscored No. 23 Iowa State in the second half, but could never get closer than 11 points in a 71-56 loss on Saturday in Ames, Iowa. Missouri falls to 10-11 overall and 2-5 in the Big 12 Conference.
An 8-0 Cyclone run in the first 90 seconds of the game had a crowd of 10,820 on their feet and forced Missouri coach Robin Pingeton to take a timeout. The Tigers couldn’t recover for the rest of the half.
“Iowa State was the aggressors and we just kind of took it,” Pingeton said in a postgame radio interview. “We showed some softness and tentativeness on offense.”
The Tigers responded by shooting 56 percent from the field in the second half.
“We did a much better job of moving the ball, swinging the ball from side to side and creating opportunities for ourselves," Pingeton said.
Shakara Jones led the Tigers with 16 points, all of which came in the last 21 minutes of the game. Also scoring in double figures were Flores with 12 and Brown with 11.
Although the Tigers got point production from their post players, they were outrebounded 45-25. Iowa State’s Chelsea Poppens, a physical 6-foot-2 forward, grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds, 10 coming on the offensive end.
“Poppens was relentless to the boards,” Pingeton said. “We got outhustled, outmuscled a little bit. We’ve got to fight harder with her.”
Poppens' physical play got both Flores and Jones into foul trouble. The Tigers were already shorthanded inside, playing without BreAnna Brock, who wasn’t with the team because of a death in the family. She is a physical player who rebounds well.
“Oh, man, that would’ve been huge for us,” Pingeton said when asked if Brock's presence was missed.
Missouri held Iowa State’s leading scorer Kelsey Bolte to 12 points on 5-of-20 shooting and 0-of-7 from three. Hallie Christofferson led the Cyclones (15-5, 3-3) with 18 points.
Even when Missouri started hitting shots early in the second half, Iowa State maintained a lead of about 20 points for the first nine minutes of the half.
Yet the Tigers never let the Cyclones run away with the game, using a 9-1 run to cut the lead to 13 with six minutes to play. They stayed within striking distance until the final minutes.
“I felt like we had a good conversation at halftime, gut check time,” Pingeton said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the way we responded in the second half. We had plenty of opportunities to lay down and die but we didn’t.”