Missouri women's basketball surges past Morgan State

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 | 9:09 p.m. CST; updated 10:44 p.m. CST, Tuesday, December 18, 2012
The Missouri women's basketball team defeated Morgan State 75-50 on Tuesday at Mizzou Arena.

COLUMBIA — Sitting on the bench, Missouri women’s basketball coach Robin Pingeton slowly shook her head. Her gaze followed the pack of blue jerseys sprinting across the court after catching an air ball thrown by Tigers freshman Morgan Stock.

After the missed shot, a foul stopped the clock with less than a minute before the buzzer sounded the end of the first half in Missouri’s game against Morgan State on Tuesday evening at Mizzou Arena.

Pingeton rose to her feet and motioned Stock to the sideline. Her face appeared on the big screen, and two words were emphasized to the stands.

“Calm down,” she said.

Missouri entered the locker room at halftime with a 35-30 edge. The Tigers lead the nation in 3-pointers, but they had made just 11 of their 36 shots.

"Certainly not one of our better games tonight. Just didn't feel like we came out with the focus and energy we needed," Pingeton said. "But I was proud of how our girls responded after halftime."

Missouri settled down to secure a 75-50 win over the Bears (4-8) to give the Tigers six straight victories and improve their season mark to 10-2.

Pingeton attributed the team's inability to execute in the first half to rushed shots.

"We just needed to slow down," senior Sydney Crafton said. "Just let it go. Don't let that missed shot cause you to miss the next one."

Within the first four minutes of the second half, the Tigers had increased their lead to 46-30. Morgan Eye, who is ranked No. 5 in the nation in 3-pointers, made four of seven shots in the second half after making just two of eight in the first. Missouri finished with a season-high 14 3-pointers. 

"We just said, 'Forget about the first half. Let’s come out and play how we know to play,'" Crafton said.

Eye led the team in points with 18, and Bri Kulas followed with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Pingeton said the team will have a short practice Wednesday to rest up for its final game before Christmas break against Murray State on Thursday at Mizzou Arena.

"We'll take the court Thursday with a lot more energy and a lot more focus than we had tonight," Pingeton said.

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