COLUMBIA — Despair and disappointment covered the faces of Shakara Jones and RaeShara Brown.
Jones held her head high, making her watery eyes visible to everyone in the press room after the Missouri women's basketball team's 60-55 overtime loss to Kansas State on Saturday at Mizzou Arena.
Normally, Brown answers most of the reporters' questions. Her voice usually fills the room, and three rows of reporters and even the camera operators at the back can hear her clearly. But on Saturday, Brown's voice was barely audible from the second row.
"I don't know what to say," Brown said. "Wish we could have done things differently. You see something right now in your head that you didn't see going on before (in the game)."
Even in the beginning of the interview, Missouri coach Robin Pingeton could not hide teary eyes. Missouri was devastated, and the postgame interviews added to the pain of a game the Tigers gave away.
Missouri had a 47-35 lead with less than eight minutes to play before Kansas State guard Brittany Chambers made four straight 3-pointers. Missouri only scored three points in the final eight minutes of regulation, and the Wildcats rallied to tie the game at 50 and force overtime.
"It might have hurt a little bit more because we had it," Brown said. "It was in our hands. We were getting ready to bite a cookie, and they (Kansas State) took it."
The Tigers' record dropped to 11-12 and 3-6 in Big 12 Conference play. Kansas State improved to 16-5 and 6-2 in the Big 12.
Brown's disappointment came after a strong showing for the Tigers. She scored a team-high 21 points and her three steals brought her career total to 248, tying former Tiger Joni Davis as the all-time steals leader.
"Really throughout the game, it's just a fact that she (Brown) preoccupies our attention," Kansas State coach Deb Patterson said. "You can see when she ends up with 21 points when it's all said and done and you know your team is working every trip up the floor to try to minimize her impact that she's just really talented."
Relieved smiles covered the faces of Patterson, Chambers and forward Jalana Childs in the press room. Despite trailing most of the second half, Kansas State came alive in overtime. Chambers and Childs made every field goal for Kansas State in the extra 5-minute period.
"I think the whole game, we couldn't find what was working for us. We were trying to find the spark," Chambers said with a smile. "We knew it was going to come."
The majority of a season-high 2,218 fans at Mizzou Arena were silenced as they watched Missouri's lead slip away. But the rally had the fans in Wildcat purple on their feet. Behind the Kansas State bench, a purple patch of Wildcats faithful in a sea of black and gold threw their fists in the air in celebration.
Pingeton said missed free throws gave Kansas State an opportunity to come back, giving the Wildcats' cheering section reason to be louder than the Tigers' fans who vastly outnumbered them. Missouri was just 10-of-23 from the foul line.
"We were up 10, up 12. It was just a matter of time before we could get up 14, 16, 18 if you knock down your free throws," Pingeton said. "It's just such an important part of the game, and we didn't do that."
Missouri has a week before they take the court again. The seven-day break will give the Tigers time to reflect on a game they threw away.
"I hope it really bothers them for a few days," Pingeton said. "It needs to."