Last season at Mizzou Arena, the Missouri women's basketball team upset then-No. 10 Baylor 70-62. But Wednesday's game against the Bears in Waco, Texas, was completely different.
Baylor (27-2, 14-1) got more than just revenge. The No. 3 Bears' 84-52 victory over the Tigers also gave them a share of the Big 12 Conference regular season championship.
Baylor players lifted coach Kim Mulkey on their shoulders after the game, and confetti poured from the ceilings of Ferrell Center, as nearly 9,000 fans celebrated after the 32-point win. The winning total was one shy of the most points allowed by Missouri this season.
Later Wednesday night, Kansas State wrapped up an upset victory over fifth-ranked Texas A&M that assured Baylor winning the conference title outright.
Still, Tigers coach Robin Pingeton said she saw positives in the loss.
"Call me crazy, but this is probably one of my top-five most proud moments of our team," Pingeton said in a postgame radio interview.
"I thought we stuck together. We stuck to the game plan, which you might say was not very good, but we just had some tough matchups tonight."
RaeShara Brown had 17 points for Missouri (12-17, 4-11), and Shakara Jones had 10. But Tigers forwards Christine Flores (six points) and BreAnna Brock (four points) struggled against 6-foot-8 Baylor standout Brittney Griner.
The Tigers' post players each gathered three fouls in the first half, and Griner took advantage of the soft defense that ensued, scoring 11 first-half points. The Bears' center finished with a game-high 22 points. Four other Baylor players finished in double figures.
"I thought we made bone-headed mistakes early. I thought we played tense early, a little flustered up with some of our shots," Pingeton said. "We took some possessions off here and there, but for the most part, we found a way to finish it."
The early mistakes put Missouri in a 43-22 hole at halftime. The Tigers shot just 28 percent (7-for-25) from the field. Baylor shot 52 percent.
Things didn't get better for Missouri in the second half. After Tigers guard Trenee Thornton took the inbound pass at the opening whistle, Baylor guard Jordan Madden stole the ball and dribbled in for an open layup. On the next possession, the Tigers' Sydney Crafton was called for traveling.
"You look at Trenee and Sydney, they didn't have a lot of poise out there," Pingeton said. "But as the game went on, it was great for them to play in this environment, to play against this caliber of players."
Pingeton's team finished with 17 turnovers. Nothing seemed to go the Tigers' way.
With a little more than 10 minutes left, a Missouri possession saw three offensive rebounds — three looks just inches from the rim — before Flores drew a foul after she grabbed the Tigers' fourth rebound. She missed both her free throws.