COLUMBIA – Lianna Doty ran down the court dribbling the ball with her right hand. She cut to the left side of the court, drove under the basket and hooked a shot up and around the basket for Missouri’s first points against UMKC on Tuesday night.
In the second half, a player from UMKC drove into the lane with the ball, but before she could get in the point, Doty stole the ball and sprinted to the opposite side of the court for the easy layup.
Doty had a career night leading Missouri to a 78-69 win, and Missouri’s sixth consecutive win to open the season. The sophomore point guard led Missouri with career highs of 21 points, 10 assists and six steals.
“It doesn’t really mean anything right now,” Doty said. “We got the ‘W.’ We have a lot to work on.”
Coach Robin Pingetonsaid she was proud of Doty’s presence and leadership on the court, but Pingeton knows the big night isn’t a big deal to Doty.
“At the end of the day, I can honestly tell you I don’t think that stat line matters to her,” Pingeton said. “It’s all about the front of the jersey. We found a way to win tonight, and I think she’s happy with that but very realistic in knowing that we need to get better.”
Missouri played a strong second half, but the Tigers trailed at halftime for the third consecutive game.
Pingeton said some early problems prevented Missouri from getting in an offensive rhythm.
“I felt like we had way too many unnecessary fouls both in the first and second half to send them to the free-throw line,” Pingeton said. “I think us getting in foul trouble early changed up some of the rotations we had. It was hard to get an offensive flow in that first half.”
Doty led the Tigers in scoring early with 12 first-half points. Maddie Stock helped the offense get going with 12 second-half points.
Stock finished the game with 14 points, and senior forward Bri Kulas ended with 15 points after 6 first-half points.
Pingeton said she felt better about what she saw in the second half but recognized her team wasn’t “dialed in” on defense throughout most of the game.
“We certainly are very realistic knowing that we have got a lot of work to do moving forward," Pingeton said. "For us to show the poise, the toughness and the grit to be able to find a way to kinda put things together a little bit better in the second half of the last couple games, I’m really proud of our girls.”
Missouri travels to Florida on Wednesday for the Miami Thanksgiving Tournament. The Tigers play Hartford on Friday at 2 p.m., then Missouri faces either Miami or St. Francis (New York) on Saturday.
Supervising editor is Erik Hall.