Turnovers doom Missouri women's basketball in loss to No. 16 LSU

Thursday, February 6, 2014 | 11:03 p.m. CST
LSU's Raigyne Moncrief is fouled as she struggles for the ball against Missouri on Thursday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La.

Before Thursday's game, Missouri coach Robin Pingeton had a few keys to getting a win on the road at No. 16 LSU.

Take care of the ball. Knock down open shots. Limit LSU seniors Theresa Plaisance and Jeanne Kenney.

Missouri struggled with those tasks in its 75-58 loss to No. 16 LSU on Thursday in Baton Rouge, La.

Both teams struggle with taking care of the ball, with Missouri (14-9, 3-7 Southeastern Conference) and LSU (18-5, 7-3 SEC) both averaging 17 turnovers per game.

But Thursday, the Tigers from Columbia had eight turnovers that led to 16 points for LSU in the first half, while the Tigers from the Bayou had just eight turnovers throughout the game.

LSU scored 32 points off Missouri's 21 turnovers.

Pingeton needed a deep breath before she could talk about her team's struggles on the KTGR postgame show afterward. The aggravation, while not visible, was audible.

"It's awfully frustrating," Pingeton said. "There's just no way you can beat teams when they score 32 points off your turnovers. You're just making it so dang hard on yourself."

Missouri was once again unable to stop Plaisance and Kenney.

The pair combined for 39 of LSU's 75 points and all four of LSU's 3-pointers. Freshman Raigyne Moncrief scored 15 points for LSU before fouling out.

Missouri senior Bri Kulas led all scorers with 23 points. Junior Morgan Eye scored 12 points off three 3-pointers and three free throws.

But no other Missouri players scored in double digits.

Missouri took the lead against No. 16 LSU one minute into the game after a 3-pointer from sophomore Lianna Doty, but LSU went on a 17-7 run over the next nine minutes as Missouri failed to take advantage of offensive opportunities.

Missouri never regained the lead.

"I didn't like our poise tonight," Pingeton said. "I felt like we played in a hurry. I felt like we played panicky."

Halfway through the first, Missouri had made just two shots and four free throws. The Tigers finished the first half shooting 32 percent, and Kulas led all scorers with 14 points.

LSU shot 44 percent in the first half, with Plaisance and Kenney finishing the half at 11 points each.

The first half ended with a long-distance barrage from both teams. In the final three minutes of the half, Kenney hit three 3-pointers for LSU, and Missouri had 3-pointers from Morgan Stock, Kayla McDowell and Eye.

Missouri trailed No. 16 LSU 38-31, a larger deficit than the Tigers two point halftime deficit in the Jan. 16 game in Columbia.

Missouri and LSU traded baskets at the start of the second half, but LSU then went on a decisive 14-0 run to take a 20-point lead with 10:09 to go.

Missouri followed up the LSU run with a 12-0 run of its own, pulling within eight points. But that would be the closest Missouri would get to upsetting LSU on the road.

LSU finished the last six minutes of the game on a 15-6 run and finished shooting 43 percent.

Missouri finished the game shooting 39 percent, the same percentage the Tigers had in their Jan. 16 loss.

LSU's two biggest wins in the SEC this season have come against Missouri: a 19-point win in January and a 17-point win Thursday.

Thursday's game marked the end of Missouri's stretch of seven out of eight games against ranked opponents. The Tigers earned two wins over top-25 opponents at home during it but have lost six of their last eight.

Unranked Alabama comes to Columbia on Sunday, but Pingeton doesn't think the games are getting any easier.

"I just told our team ... if you think you can exhale now that we're done with that stretch of ranked teams, you are sadly mistaken," Pingeton said. "We're definitely going to have our hands full on Sunday."

Supervising editor is Sean Morrison.

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