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Columbia Missourian

Missouri women's basketball team hands win to Arkansas

By Taylor Vortherms
January 24, 2013 | 11:12 p.m. CST
Missouri center Liz Smith fights for possession of the ball with Arkansas guard Melissa Wolff during a game Thursday at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers lost 58-50 to the Razorbacks.

COLUMBIA— Lianna Doty approached midcourt with the ball.

With the Missouri women's basketball team trailing Arkansas by eight points Thursday night at Mizzou Arena, she crossed the center line and found junior forward Bri Kulas. She forced a pass through the lane littered with red jerseys.

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Arkansas' 6-foot Quistelle Williams read her eyes and intercepted the pass, stealing the ball as well as Missouri's last hope at catching up. Williams drove in for a layup, making the score 54-44.

The Tigers lost 58-50, turning over the ball 18 times. Doty, a freshman guard, totaled seven turnovers.

"Sometimes, I feel like she plays with such reckless abandon, which can be a good thing," Tigers coach Robin Pingeton said of Doty. "But it can be detrimental, too."

Arkansas pulled to an early 12-2 lead. Missouri started out shooting 1-for-12.

"We talked a lot at halftime about beating ourselves," sophomore guard Morgan Eye said.

At halftime, Missouri had turned over the ball seven times. Sydney Crafton led the team in points with five, and Liene Priede followed with four.

With 13 minutes left to play, Kulas earned Missouri its first lead of the game with a jumper, making the score 32-31. But the Tigers then turned over the ball on six of their next eight possessions.

"I think we forced some of the turnovers," Arkansas coach Tom Collen said. "Maybe when they look at the tape, they’ll realize some of them were because of their own errors."

Arkansas capitalized on Missouri's inability to hold onto the ball, scoring 25 points off turnovers. Erin Gatling scored six 3-pointers and totaled 23 points for the Razorbacks.

"She was kind of like our Morgan Eye coming off the bench — their secret weapon," Pingeton said.

Eye, Missouri's leading 3-point shooter, went 4-for-9 for 3-point shots and led the team in points with 12. Priede followed with nine, and Kyley Simmons and Crafton each scored seven.

"I just felt like we didn’t have the poise and discipline offensively," Pingeton said. "We’re a young team, but we need to start growing up."