Poor shooting plagues Missouri women's basketball team at Nebraska

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 | 10:30 p.m. CST; updated 12:01 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It took the Missouri women's basketball team nearly six minutes to score a basket Tuesday night at Nebraska. Trenee Thornton sank a 3-pointer to open the Tigers' scoring.

Thornton was the lone bright spot on a poor shooting night for the Tigers, who lost 76-34 to the Huskers in the team's final Big 12 Conference regular season game. Nebraska will move to the Big Ten next season.

Thornton, a sophomore, credited the new coaching staff with helping her improve her game.

"They help you work harder, do things you thought you could never do before, get steals on defense, or hitting a big shot in a game that you thought you could never hit before," Thornton said in a pregame radio interview.

Missouri (12-15, 4-9) only made four baskets in the first half. Thornton finished with nine points — six higher than her season average — but just as many as the Tigers' leading scorer, senior RaeShara Brown, who had been averaging more than 16 points a game entering the contest. Junior Christine Flores, who also averages in double figures, scored eight. Missouri ended the game shooting 19 percent from the field.

"We're asking a lot of things from a few kids," first-year Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said in a postgame radio interview. "I don't know if that's an excuse or if that's reality. This late in the season, it's our responsibility to keep the players up."

After Nebraska (13-14, 3-10) built a 39-15 halftime lead, Pingeton had the chance to give playing time to underclassmen who normally don't see the court. All 12 players on the active roster got minutes. But junior BreAnna Brock and freshman Paige Spietz were the only substitutes to represent Missouri on the score sheet. Brock made two shots, and Spietz completed two free throws.

"There's a lot of growth that has to take place with them. There's a lot of freshmen and sophomores in this league that are doing a lot of great things," Pingeton said. "I thought Paige Spietz's stat line didn't show a lot."

Missouri guard Maggie Flynn also made an impact off the scoreboard. Although she did not make either of her two shots, the freshman helped hold Nebraska guard Kaitlyn Burke to only three points.

But the two Cornhuskers with whom Missouri has the most problems dominated again Tuesday. Lindsey Moore scored a game-high 23 points, and center Catheryn Redmon added 13. Moore scored 18 points in the teams' first meeting Feb. 2 at Mizzou Arena, a game which Missouri won, 76-69.

"The thing that has me more disappointed than anything was our breakdown in communication," Pingeton said. "Too many times, we had two people guarding the ball. You saw time after time on our defensive rotation, they weren't where they needed to be."

The lack of communication on Missouri's part led to 49 percent shooting for Nebraska. The Tigers left Moore open several times on the perimeter after Redmon received the ball on the inside, drawing in multiple defenders. Moore capitalized, making five of her seven shots from beyond the 3-point arc.

"I sensed it about an hour before the game," Pingeton said. "I told my coaches there seemed to be a flatness. You would not have known that Sunday after the Kansas game."

"I thought Monday we came back and had a great practice before we got on the road," she said. "Our shoot-around I thought was very energized, and they were where they needed to be. Just right before the game, I felt like they were flat."

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