Missouri’s first major injury of the season could not have come at a worse time.
With the Tigers beginning the Big 12 Conference schedule on the road against No. 11 Kansas State, Missouri learned that point guard LaToya Bond will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken left foot she suffered last weekend.
With Bond out of the lineup, Missouri’s offense never found a rhythm against the Wildcats on Wednesday, and Kansas State rolled to a 95-59 win at Bramlage Coliseum.
The loss snaps Missouri’s four-game win streak. Kansas State extended its win streak to eight.
“It was just one of those games where you just don’t do anything well,” Missouri coach Cindy Stein said in a postgame radio interview. “Everything we tried just didn’t work.”
Early in the game it was evident that Missouri’s plan was to defend Nicole Ohlde with one-on-one coverage while trying to keep the rest of the Wildcats’ offensive arsenal in check. Ohlde, a 6-foot-5 senior and player of the year candidate, had no problem picking apart the Tigers’ defense. She scored 10 points in the first eight minutes.
With single coverage not working, Missouri began to double-team Ohlde midway through the first-half and Kansas State promptly began to heat up from 3-point range. Kansas State made three of its 10 3-pointers late in the first half to spark a 16-2 run that turned a four-point lead into a 42-24 advantage.
Missouri mainly used single coverage against Ohlde for the rest of the game, but Ohlde had an answer for every defensive scheme she faced. She made 14-of-16 shots and finished with a game-high 31 points.
Evan Unrau scored the first points of the second half to cut Kansas State’s lead to 43-31, but the Wildcats answered quickly. Laurie Koehn made two of her game-high seven 3-pointers to lead a 12-0 Kansas State run that put the Wildcats ahead by 24 and ended any hope of a Missouri comeback.
Koehn finished with a season-high 25 points for Kansas State (10-2, 1-0). The Wildcats held Unrau, Missouri’s leading scorer coming in to the game, to nine points on 4-of-11 shooting.
Stretch James and MyEsha Perkins led the Tigers with 11 points apiece. Missouri (9-3, 0-1) committed 20 turnovers and shot 33.3 percent from the field.
The loss is Missouri’s fifth straight to Kansas State and Stein said she hopes her team can quickly shake off the defeat and prepare for its game against Kansas on Saturday.
“This is a game that I told them we have to throw out the window,” Stein said. “We were so bad and it was so ugly that we just have to throw it out the window.”
EARLY BIG 12 WOES: Since the Big 12’s inception in 1996, Missouri has never won its first conference game. The last time the Tigers won a conference opener was in the 1992-93 season when Missouri beat Kansas 64-62 to begin the Big Eight Conference schedule.