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Rally falls short for Missouri women's basketball team at Memphis

Saturday, December 29, 2012 | 4:06 p.m. CST; updated 7:42 p.m. CST, Saturday, December 29, 2012

 It had taken Missouri all game to pull even. 

Nicole Dickson made sure that it only lasted a few moments. 

With 30 seconds left on the clock, Bri Kulas made a free throw to bring the Missouri women's basketball team into a 69-69 tie with Memphis.

Before that, Missouri had trailed the entire game.

Time and time again, Missouri had clawed its way back into the game, stopping just short of ever taking the lead. 

Time and time again, Memphis found a way to pull away.

So it was only fitting that once Missouri finally evened the score, Memphis' Dickson sunk a floating jump shot with 0.4 seconds left, pulling her team ahead of Missouri one last time for a 72-69 victory.

Dickson finished the game with 28 points, including four 3-pointers. 

"That's a kid we said, we're guarding her on the 3-point line, everyone else should be in the paint," Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said on the KTGR postgame radio show. "That didn't happen, possession after possession."

Missouri was unable to fully recover from a slow start in the first half. 

Memphis had jumped out to an early 10-1 lead and led by 15 midway through the first half. Missouri shot only 34.4 percent in the first half and trailed 39-28 at halftime.

"They came out in the first half and they were absolutely the aggressor," Pingeton said. "We didn't do much about it. We just kind of took it."

But Missouri scored 10 unanswered points to start the second half, and the teams battled throughout the period, but Missouri was never able to break through.

Sydney Crafton had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Kulas led the team in scoring with 23 points.

After the new year, Missouri will begin conference play with a trip to No. 6 Georgia. Three of the Tigers' first four Southeastern Conference games are against current top 15 teams. 

Despite her disappointment, Pingeton said she felt her team would learn from failing its first test on the road. 

"It's not going to get any easier, but I think this group will respond," Pingeton said. "We'll bounce back. We'll get a win at some point in this conference season that we weren't expected to get."

The loss in the team's first true road game brings Missouri to 11-3 on the season. Memphis improves to 7-5 with the victory.

Missouri's next game will be against No. 6 Georgia at 6 p.m. CST on Thursday in Athens, Ga.


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