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Columbia Missourian

Poor 3-point shooting dooms Missouri in loss to Mississippi State

By Caitlin Swieca
February 10, 2013 | 5:02 p.m. CST
Missouri guard Liene Priede defends Mississippi State guard Kendra Grant during Missouri's game against Mississippi State Sunday at Mizzou Arena. Mississippi State defeated Missouri 61-56.

COLUMBIA — Sunday was Morgan Eye's day to make history.

Instead, it became a game to forget. 

About seven minutes into the Missouri women's basketball team's game against Mississippi State, Eye hit one of her trademark 3-point shots from the right wing, several feet beyond the arc.

With the shot, Eye claimed the Missouri single-season record for 3-pointers with 91, breaking the record previously held by Alyssa Hollins. 

But she wouldn't find the net again until there were 5.6 seconds left in the game — and by then, it was too little, too late. 

A week after Missouri shocked Tennessee in its first win against a top 10 team in three years, the Tigers fell to Mississippi State 61-56.

Mississippi State, which entered the game with a 2-7 record in conference play, took away Missouri's offensive weapon by holding the Tigers to 3 of 20 from the 3-point line. 

Missouri came into the game averaging nine 3-pointers per game. 

"We tried to be there on the pass with her," Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said about defending Eye. "If you're there on the catch, it might be too late. We tried to be there on the pass and really guard the arc."

But Missouri coach Robin Pingeton refused to blame the loss on long-range shooting, instead focusing on the team's 20 turnovers, many of which were unforced.

"We've got certain kids who've got the green light (to shoot), and we're not going to pull the reins back on them," Pingeton said. "I think it's not so much how we shot from the 3-point line. I'm going to go back to our turnovers and our missed layups. I think that really tells the story of the game." 

Just a week after igniting hopes of making the NCAA tournament with the win against Tennessee, the team struggled to explain the loss.

"We had a great week of practice," senior center Liz Smith said. "All of us girls, we've really committed to coming in with the mindset that we're going to get better every day.

"Maybe we were thinking, 'Oh, we just beat Tennessee, we can get this team easy. Not everybody collectively had the mindset that we needed to go attack them out of the gates." 

With the loss, Missouri falls to 15-9 overall and 4-6 in SEC play. Missouri will resume play Thursday, when it begins a two-game road trip with a game at Vanderbilt.