Carolyn Davis was having a career night against the Missouri women’s basketball team. But with the Tigers leading by two points with 18 seconds to play, Kansas put the ball in the hands of Monica Engelman, and she stole the show.
The Jayhawks tried to get the ball to Davis, but she wasn’t open. With the game clock running down, Engelman drove and made a running shot with 1.9 seconds left to tie the game at 62. She went on to score six crucial points in overtime in the Jayhawks’ 75-70 win Saturday in Lawrence, Kan.
The first half featured a matchup in the paint between Davis and Missouri’s BreAnna Brock. Before the game, Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said Brock would be used sparingly because of a knee injury suffered in Wednesday’s win over Oklahoma State. But Brock entered the game quickly when Christine Flores aggravated her broken finger less than a minute into the game.
Although Flores returned just three minutes later, Brock ended up playing the majority of the half.
Kansas shot 56 percent in the half, thanks to a number of easy baskets by Davis, who finished the half with 14 points. But Brock’s 12 points allowed Missouri to enter the break tied at 33.
Brock didn’t play much in the second half, but Davis did. She continued where she left off, having her way around the basket. Missouri trailed the entire half – but never by more than seven points – until MU's Shakara Jones' layup with 1:39 left in regulation gave Missouri a 61-60 lead.
Neither team scored after that until MU's Sydney Crafton headed to the free-throw line with 22 seconds to play. She made one of two baskets, setting the stage for Engelman, who had only scored three points before making the shot that sent the game into overtime.
“Hitting a two is a lot different than hitting a three,” Pingeton said in a postgame radio interview.
After scoring the first two points of overtime, Engelman hit a jump shot as the shot clock was about to expire to give the Jayhawks a six-point lead with two minutes to play. After RaeShara Brown hit a 3-pointer to bring the Tigers within three points, another Engelman jumper iced the game with 19 seconds to play.
“She had some real tough shots,” was all Pingeton could say about Engelman’s performance down the stretch.
Brown, a senior, scored 18 of her team-high 23 points in the second half and overtime. But it was an unsung group that almost helped Missouri get its first Big 12 Conference road win of the season. Trenee Thornton and Brock, the only two players to come off the bench for Missouri, combined for 21 points. Sophomore guard Sydney Crafton added 11 points and 15 rebounds.
“When you consider the fact that Sydney, Trenee, Bre have not been in many situations like this — they’re not used to this, this environment — for them to come out of the gates and play the way they did, I thought we competed and did it the right way,” Pingeton said.
It might have been the free-throw line that cost Missouri in the end. In addition to Crafton’s miss at the end of regulation, Brock went to the line with 45 seconds left in overtime with a chance to cut the lead to one. She missed both.
“The thing that just breaks your back and just crushes you is that free-throw line,” Pingeton said. “We had so many opportunities at the end of the game that we could’ve maybe sealed the deal.”
Davis ended the game with a career-high 34 points to lead Kansas, which shot 49 percent from the field for the game.
“Everybody was knocking down shots for them,” Pingeton said.
The loss drops Missouri to 12-14 overall and 4-8 in conference play.
“Man, would’ve liked to have this one, but look how far we’ve come,” Pingeton said. “There’s some hurt in that locker room right now. We didn’t have that two months ago.”