COLUMBIA — The Missouri women's basketball team did it with defense in its 59-48 victory against SIU-Edwardsville on Sunday afternoon.
Although shots weren't falling for guard Morgan Eye, the team's strongest 3-point shooter stepped up her defensive effort. Eye failed to score but made an impact in Missouri's home opener by pulling down a team-leading nine rebounds.
"She's just such a team player and did a great job of not forcing up shots," head coach Robin Pingeton said. "Her big challenge going into this year was that she didn't want to be known as just a shooter."
Missouri held the lead throughout the entire second half. The Tigers' swarming defense limited the Cougars to just 12 field goal attempts and 16.7 percent shooting in the second period. The offense hit its stride during a 10-0 scoring run that extended the team's lead to 15 with just over 9 minutes left to play.
Guard Morgan Stock and forward Bri Kulas led the Tigers offense, scoring 15 and 16 respectively.
Stock's ability to come off the bench and hit outside shots helped kick start Missouri's struggling offense early in the first half. In addition to Stock's three-point shooting, freshman Kayla McDowell added eight points off the bench.
Altogether, the Tigers' bench accounted for more than half of the team's scoring with 31 points.
"I think that’s something we will find ourselves counting on that quite a bit this year," Pingeton said. "We do have a lot of weapons that can come off the bench and really ignite an offense for us."
Pingeton also said that she has been impressed with the way new players have stepped up each night and that some starting spots have not been solidified.
"It also makes the practices a bit more competitive; everybody is working for a spot and minutes every day," she said. "I think that’s a very healthy competition we have going on within our team."
Missouri will host the University of Evansville Purple Aces at 7 p.m. Thursday at Mizzou Arena.