COLUMBIA – The Missouri women’s basketball team faced a challenge opening Big 12 Conference play Wednesday against No. 1 Baylor.
Missouri lost 90-46 to the Bears who had home-court advantage in Waco, Texas in front of a crowd of 8,017.
“I’m absolutely very glad to have this road trip out of the way,” Missouri head coach Robin Pingeton said in a phone interview.
Baylor outrebounded Missouri 46-30 and shot more than 50 percent from the field compared to Missouri’s 25 percent.
“They’re so deep. They’re athletic. They’re quick. There’s a reason they’re ranked where they’re ranked,” Pingeton said.
Senior forward BreAnna Brock lead the Tigers with 14 points and six rebounds. Sending in a pair of shots from behind the 3-point arc to score the first long-distance baskets of her career.
Pingeton told Brock and her teammates during practice that there would be open looks, and the Tigers would have to take them.
“We knew that she could, and we didn’t want her to be shy from stepping up and taking shots if they were open,” Pingeton said. “If we can add that to her game, like how Christine (Flores) is capable of making the defense come up, it’s just going to make her that much tougher to defend.”
Flores, a standout senior forward for the Tigers who had been averaging 21.9 points per game before Wednesday’s game, was held to 10 points against Baylor.
Freshman Kyley Simmons added eight points for the Tigers, shooting 2-of-2 from behind the 3-point line.
“I knew I needed to shoot, and they happened to be falling tonight,” Simmons said.
The game was her first against a Big 12 Conference opponent, and Simmons said she couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity. Baylor is great competition, and she’d rather play against them than anyone, she said.
“Kyley played one heck of a ball game,” Pingeton said, noting that the tough competition in the league was the reason Simmons wanted to play in the Big 12.
Simmons said she had a couple turnovers she regretted and will continue to work on her ball handling skills as the season progresses, but she saw the Baylor game as a good opportunity for her team to play some tough competition.
“We keep doing what we do, and it will all start to come together,” Simmons said.