COLUMBIA — One of Bri Kulas' rebounds quickly found its way into the hands of Morgan Eye. The ball arched toward the basket for a 3-pointer.
Then, after Kulas intercepted an opponent's pass, the ball went right back to the 5-foot-9 sophomore guard. With the flip of her wrist and a slight hop backwards, Eye’s gaze followed the ball until it successfully dropped through the net. Another 3-pointer.
Now it was Eye's turn to make a steal. This time, though, she kept the ball and drove in for the layup.
Eight points in a matter of 22 seconds put the Missouri women's basketball team ahead 44-20 with 4:12 to go in the first half.
“She’s a kid who can rattle off a lot of points in a hurry,” Tigers coach Robin Pingeton said. “That’s a nice weapon coming off the bench.”
Eye scored 16 points in Missouri’s 88-55 victory over Chicago State on Monday night at Mizzou Arena, making six of her nine shots. Last season, she led the team in 3-pointers. Of her 84 shots last season, 63 were for three points.
“When Morgan’s hitting, she’s hitting,” senior guard Sydney Crafton said. “That’s always nice. It just opens stuff up so much more.”
Eye’s threat expanded the defense and opened up driving lanes for teammates. Crafton scored in double digits as well with 13 points, along with Kulas, who had 14 and eight rebounds, and Lianna Doty with 10.
“Coach talks a lot about how we have so many people who can score on any different night,” Eye said. “So tonight, it was me. Another night, it might be someone else.”
Eye said the threat of Missouri’s surplus of shooters should create a challenge for opposing teams when it comes to deciding who to guard the closest.
Chicago State coach Angela Jackson said she knew Missouri had a lot of 3-point shooters, and the Tigers succeeded in controlling the game offensively, particularly in the first half.
“I wish we could have taken a chapter out of their book and played with some intensity for 40 minutes,” Jackson said.
Eye struggled in Missouri's first exhibition game, shooting 0 for 5. But on Monday, she made her presence felt.
“She’s a young lady we all have a lot of confidence in,” Pingeton said. “She’s got that mental toughness. That’s exactly what shooters do. They keep shooting.”
Missouri (2-0) will play next against Western Illinois at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Mizzou Arena.
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.