The Missouri women's basketball team began the Cancun Challenge with a victory Thursday, passing its first challenge of the week with a 49-44 win over Wichita State.
The Tigers took a 22-15 lead into halftime, led by six points each from junior Bri Kulas and senior Liz Smith.
In the early going, Missouri struggled with ball control, with eight turnovers to Wichita State's three in the first half. Weak shooting by the Shockers kept the Tigers ahead. Wichita State shot 7-for-32 from the field.
Missouri began to pull away in the second half, as two Maddie Stock 3-pointers gave the Tigers a 40-23 lead, their biggest of the game.
The lead slipped away as Missouri tried to burn the clock, and Wichita State was able to cut the Tigers' lead to five. That was the closest the Shockers got, however, and Missouri hung on for a five-point victory.
Smith finished the game with seven rebounds and a block for Missouri. Crafton led the team in scoring with 12 points and four rebounds.
Missouri tried a new starting lineup Thursday, with Smith, Kulas, Sydney Crafton, Kyley Simmons and Lianna Doty taking the floor. It was the first time this season that senior Liene Priede didn't start. Smith and Doty both fouled out in the second half.
The Tigers (4-0) will resume play at the tournament with a 5 p.m. Friday game against Green Bay.
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.