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Columbia Missourian

Missouri women's basketball pulls out overtime road win at Ole Miss

By Caitlin Swieca
January 20, 2013 | 5:44 p.m. CST

When it counted most, Sydney Crafton made the shot.

With 1.7 seconds left on the clock in overtime in the Missouri women's basketball team's game Sunday at Mississippi, Crafton stepped to the free-throw line for the third time in the past two minutes.


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The first time, with 1:26 left on the clock, she had missed both attempts, failing to extend her team's four-point lead.

The second time, she made both, giving her team a 72-68 lead with 50 seconds left. 

When it didn't hold up, she found a way to get to the line one more time.

With the game tied at 72, Crafton missed a layup but drew a foul while fighting for the rebound. She sunk the first of two shots, and that was all it took to seal the 73-72 victory, Missouri's first road win in the Southeastern Conference. 

"We just knew we wanted to attack the rim," said Missouri coach Robin Pingeton on a postgame radio show. "Syd, I thought, came in late in the game and really did a good job of creating driving opportunities for our team. We just felt that was our best option at that point."

The winning shot came in a game where Missouri shot a frustrating 11-of-23 from the charity stripe. 

The game was tied both at halftime and at the end of regulation, and Missouri had lost two of its biggest offensive threats when junior guard Bri Kulas and freshman guard Lianna Doty both fouled out.

But Missouri's veteran players stepped up in overtime, with 10 of Missouri's final 13 points coming from seniors Crafton, center Liz Smith and guard Liene Priede. 

Pingeton credited Kulas, who had a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds, with keeping the team in the game during regulation. She said Crafton was able to step into Kulas' role once she left the game.

The win brought Missouri to 2-5 in games not played at Mizzou Arena this year, and gave the Tigers a win over one of the SEC's weakest teams.

"You hate to call any game a must-win, but I know we felt going into this game, it's about as much of a must-win as we had to have," Pingeton said. "For us to even have a chance to get to the middle of the pack, this was a game we had to find a way to win."

Kulas led the Tigers in scoring with 23 points. Crafton finished the game with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists, and Liz Smith added 12, finishing 5-for-6 from the field. 

With the win, Missouri improves to 13-6 overall and 2-3 in SEC play. Ole Miss falls to 7-11 overall and 0-5 in the conference. 

Missouri will resume play Thursday when they play Arkansas at Mizzou Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.