COLUMBIA – The 3-pointers fell early for Missouri women's basketball Thursday night.
The second half? Well, that was a different story.
After scorching the Mizzou Arena net with 10-for-17 (58.8 percent) shooting from deep in the opening 20 minutes, Missouri cooled off considerably in the second half, making just 1 of 11 attempts. A Missouri team that entered intermission down by just two points ended up losing 87-68 to No. 14 LSU, which blew away the home Tigers after the break.
Missouri’s first 15 points came via the long ball, including three treys by sophomore Morgan Stock. And while senior forward Bri Kulas finished with a career-high 30 points (including five 3s), the second half was ugly for the Tigers, who shot below 10 percent from range.
"When you're able to take away the three-ball against a very good shooting team like Missouri and try to force more of the twos ..." LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said. "That was our game plan, especially in the second half, and we were able to do so."
Missouri's offense thrived in the first half as LSU struggled to find a defense that worked. The Tigers from Columbia finished the first half with a 50 percent shooting percentage. LSU kept pace thoughout, posting a 47.1 field goal percentage and a 57.1 three-point field goal percentage for 42 points.
The second half told a different story. Missouri shot 28.6 percent from the field while LSU reached a 54.5 percent mark.
"Second half, we just seemed out of sorts," Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. "The timing on our cuts, the timing on our entries, when we tried to run motion. We just didn't look as sharp as we have been looking."
LSU's Theresa Plaisance scored double-digit points for the seventh straight game but it was senior Jeanne Kenney who led the way for LSU. Kenney finished the game with 30 points. She made six of her team's 13 3-pointers.
The 13 treys by LSU is a new school record. LSU entered the game with an average 37.7 three point field goal percentage. Missouri opponents this season have shot an average 26.6 percent from beyond the arc but LSU finished the game shooting 68.4 percent.
"We didn't plan to shoot this many threes or to make this many threes," LSU guard Jeanne Kenney said. "We never really relied on the three-ball. I'm a shooter, so I mean, if I have some room, I'm gonna shoot it."
Kenney collided with Missouri's Jordan Frericks less than five minutes into the game. The LSU senior stayed on the court for a couple minutes before being helped to the locker room. She returned to the court with less than eight minutes to play showing no signs of weakness.
"She hit tough shots and most of the time they were contested," Missouri redshirt freshman Lindsey Cunningham said. "She hit some tough shots. That's what good players are gonna do."
LSU scored 20 points off Missouri's 17 turnovers. Pingeton said she did not see the poise she wanted to see from her team near the end of the game.
"Tonight they got the best of us and we'll regroup and try and find a way to get one against Texas A&M, a very good Texas A&M team," Pingeton said.
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