Missouri women's basketball survives foul trouble to beat Saint Louis

Friday, November 9, 2012 | 11:14 p.m. CST; updated 12:31 p.m. CST, Saturday, November 10, 2012
Mizzou women's basketball head coach Robin Pingeton complains to a referee during the first half against Saint Louis University on Friday at Mizzou Arena. Mizzou beat Saint Louis 57-45

COLUMBIA — Robin Pingeton slouched back into her seat.

Her latest animated appeal having proved fruitless, the Missouri women's basketball coach had no choice but to lower her outstretched arms and watch Saint Louis University continue its parade to the free-throw line. 

The latest infraction was committed by freshman guard Morgan Stock, her first, the team's 10th.

The resulting free throws were both made by SLU's Lorreal Jones, making the Billikens 14-for-16 at the free-throw line for the first half.  

In about five minutes, the Tigers' nine-point lead had turned into a slim 32-29 halftime edge. Pingeton kept up a healthy conversation with the referees the whole way through.

After Missouri cleaned up its defense in the second half en route to a 67-51 victory, Pingeton was initially hesitant in her assessment of the officials. 

"I think, you know, they did the best job they could," she said. "I think, you know, different angles of the game create different calls. But you know, it's all part of basketball."

Suddenly, her tone grew stronger. Any frustration she felt with the officiating quickly turned into a challenge to her players. 

"We're putting those officials in a position where they're seeing something," Pingeton said. "So we've got to clean it up on our end. That's absolutely 100 percent our responsibility. They're going to call the game the way they see it."

The narrative of the first half was exactly the one Pingeton had warned against. Having touted her team's offensive prowess throughout the preseason, the coach stressed that Missouri needed to find a way to get the job done defensively without fouling.

Several of the team's players ran into foul trouble — most notably, freshmen Lianna Doty and Darian Saunders, who each had four — but only gave the Billikins four free throws in the second half.

"I think our players just made the adjustment to the style of ball they were playing," Pingeton said. "I think we did a little better job recognizing who were the shooters, who were the drivers."

In a season sure to be full of adjustments for the young team, the Tigers passed their first test in the season-opening victory.

The Missouri offense was led by Bri Kulas, who had 18 points, and Stock, who had 11.

Missouri's season will continue on Monday, when the Tigers host Chicago State at 7 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.

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