COLUMBIA — During an eight-minute period in the first half, the Missouri women’s basketball team didn't score a point.
No. 1-ranked Baylor took that time to extend what was an early two-point lead into a double-digit advantage. It went on like that, ending in a 71-41 victory for the Bears over the struggling Tigers on Wednesday in front of 3,054 at Mizzou Arena.
The 30-point walloping marked Missouri’s ninth consecutive loss, however it was a 14-point improvement from the Tigers' last date with the Bears in early January, a 44-point loss in Waco, Texas.
And small improvements are what Missouri coach Robin Pingeton is preaching to her team.
“We think we’re getting better, and we’re not going to quit,” Robin Pingeton said.
“I said it in the beginning of the year, we’re not going to define this team by wins and losses, and the scoreboard. And I’m going to stay true to that.”
In a way, Baylor gave Missouri something to shoot for.
“We know that building a program, it doesn’t happen overnight,” said Pingeton, who is in her second year with the Tigers. “You talk about Baylor, and why it's so tough to make adjustments. Well, a big part of that is they built a championship program.
"They’ve been there. They’ve done it. It didn’t happen in (Baylor coach) Kim’s (Mulkey) first year or second year, and I don't think it happened in her third year. It takes time to build it."
Led by the dominating post play of Preseason Player of the Year Brittney Griner, who scored 18 points on 9-of-14 shooting and the defensive pressure of Kimetria Hayden, who had four steals and 15 points, the Bears (22-0, 9-0 Big-12) cruised.
The Tigers (10-10, 0-9 Big 12) tried to contain the high-powered Baylor attack that averages more than 80 points per contest by slowing down the pace of the game, casually moving the ball up the court and taking as much time off the shot clock as possible in order to keep the ball out of Griner's and Baylor's hands.
That was the goal.
But Baylor countered this stalling tactic by applying full-court pressure and playing a stifling man-to-man defense that forced the Tigers into taking bad shots and created 22 turnovers that Baylor converted into 25 points.
The defeat leaves the Tigers still searching for their first conference victory. Despite the struggles, Pingeton refused to be disheartened.
"I couldn't be more proud of this team," Pingeton said of her's team's effort and work ethic. "Find another team in the country that brings that to the table when we’re going through the challenges we’re going through every day.
"Deflated. A long ways from it."