COLUMBIA — Morgan Eye isn’t the loudest or most animated player on the Missouri women’s basketball team. But on Saturday, her 3-point shooting caused the otherwise calm crowd to get excited.
During the first half of Missouri's game against North Dakota, the 5-foot-9-inch-tall freshman seemed unstoppable.
Standing behind the white 3-point line, she grabbed a pass, raised her eyes to glance at the basket for a brief moment and pushed the ball into the air. It swished through the net, and Missouri was up 18-0.
Within a matter of three and a half minutes, Eye sunk four 3-pointers, giving Missouri a lead that it carried throughout the game to defeat North Dakota 69-52.
Eye, who is from Montrose, about an hour and a half south of Kansas City, said her solid shooting helps build her confidence for upcoming games, as the Tigers will soon enter conference play.
"She's a tremendous shooter. She really stretches the defense for us," Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said.
But you won't usually see Eye celebrating like crazy over successful plays.
When teammate Christine Flores blocked a shot from a North Dakota player, she let out a celebratory yell, and Kyley Simmons bent forward with a fist pump. Eye clapped twice but almost immediately tried to encourage her teammates to focus on the next play.
Eye describes herself as a quiet person, but she loves the emotion her teammates show.
“It’s something we’re working on with her,” Flores said, laughing. “We’re trying to get her out of her comfort zone.”
Eye spends a lot of time outside of practice working on her shooting, but Pingeton is looking forward to getting her in the weight room in the off-season and working with the strength and conditioning coach.
“She has a really good understanding of the game,” Pingeton said. “She’s just got to get bigger, stronger, tougher.”
However, Pingeton has been consistently impressed with Eye’s mental toughness and ability to take on a challenge.
“We’ve got a lot of times that we’re looking eye-to-eye, face-to-face, and we’re challenging her, and she responds,” Pingeton said. “She does have a toughness to her that I love.”