COLUMBIA — Captain Bri Kulas had a night of highs and lows in the Missouri women's basketball team's final exhibition game Tuesday.
Kulas, who led the team in scoring last year with 13.8 points per game, started slow in Missouri's 79-53 victory over the Quincy Hawks. The forward scored just two points and committed three turnovers in the first half.
Coach Robin Pingeton expected more from her only returning senior and did not hesitate to let Kulas know.
After a missed defensive assignment, Pingeton called a timeout with two minutes left in the first half. Separated from the rest of the team, Pingeton put her hands on her hips and addressed Kulas.
"We had a nice little friendly chat," Pingeton joked. "You know, head coach to senior, senior to head coach, I just really tried to challenge her."
Kulas made an immediate impact the second half, scoring nine points in the first five minutes.
"That's what great players do," Pingeton said. "They respond. She didn't feel sorry for herself. She didn't hang her head. She just put her shoulders back and took it. I was really proud of her in the second half."
However, Kulas' production was cut short. She sat out the final eight minutes of play after injuring her left hand. In a postgame press conference, Pingeton said she expected Kulas to be fine.
Missouri was already without senior transfer Tania Jackson, who did not play after a concussion in last week's game. Freshmen forwards Jordan Frericks and Kayla McDowell took advantage of their additional minutes. McDowell led the team with 10 rebounds and added eight points.
"With each exhibition, I've become more and more confident," McDowell said.
Frericks scored nine points and showed physicality in the paint throughout her second collegiate game. Pingeton said additional depth at the forward position will help.
"They're both competitors," she said. "I think they have a very good feel for the game, especially considering they're freshman."
Morgan Stock led Missouri offensively by scoring all 12 of her points from beyond the arc. After some struggling with outside shots in their first exhibition, the team hit 11 3-pointers against Quincy.
"This past week, I think we all just really got in the gym and got our shots up," Morgan Stock said. "I think it really showed in the game tonight."
After breezing through two exhibition competitions, Missouri is scheduled to begin its regular season at 4:30 p.m. Friday in a road game against Saint Louis.
Supervising editor is Erik Hall.