COLUMBIA — For the second time in as many games, a last-minute 3-point shot sent the Missouri women's basketball team into overtime.
With 8.9 seconds left in the game, freshman Kyley Simmons inbounded the ball to Liene Priede from the sideline near the Tigers' bench. Priede took a few steps to her right and shot from two feet beyond the 3-point line. The ball bounced in from the upper half of the backboard with 2.6 seconds left to tie the game at 53 and send the Tigers to overtime for the second straight game.
After the game, coach Robin Pingeton said the play was designed for Christine Flores, not Priede.
"I was looking for Christine, but I couldn't find her," Priede said. "I kind of saw it wasn't going straight. But I had a feeling, it's going to hit the backboard, it's going in."
The Tigers scored only one basket in the overtime period in Tuesday's overtime loss to Iowa State, but Missouri made the extra five minutes count Saturday. Senior BreAnna Brock scored on the first possession in overtime to keep the momentum on Missouri's side, and Priede made a layup on a fastbreak and three free throws in the overtime period to help seal a 61-56 victory for the Tigers.
Missouri's first Big 12 Conference win at Mizzou Arena prompted Pingeton to find a microphone as soon as the game ended.
"I know we've had our challenges this year, but you guys are simply amazing," she told 2,308 fans. "We appreciate it so much. Thanks for coming out."
Attendance at women's basketball games has remained fairly steady all season at about 2,000 to 3,000 even though, before Saturday, Missouri hadn't won a home game since Dec. 30.
But the Tigers' victory against Kansas State is the culmination of an ongoing process to build a winning program. After losing 13 consecutive games in the Big 12, that process finally seems to be gaining some headway.
"These last four or five games, we're playing some pretty good basketball, so it's not a surprise to anybody," Pingeton said. "I've had a lot coaches in the league just talk about how impressed they are with how hard these girls continue to compete despite the challenges we've had this season."
Missouri has won two of its past three and has started to build momentum heading into the Big 12 tournament in early March. Kansas State coach Deb Patterson is one of those coaches who has noticed how much Missouri has improved over the course of the season.
"I think they're significantly better," Patterson said. "They just have a better feel for where they want the ball each possession. I just think they're doing a great job. They're building momentum even though it's late in the season."
Flores led the Tigers with 20 points, and Brock finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Priede scored 11 points and was 6-for-8 from the free-throw line. Missouri outrebounded Kansas State 40-38 but was only 5-for-19 from 3-point range.