What was a typically intense and emotional women’s basketball game between Missouri and Kansas turned into an ugly scene after the final buzzer Saturday.
After Kansas’ 55-52 win, a fight broke out at half-court between several players, and eventually coaches from both teams and members of Missouri’s athletic department, including Athletic Director Mike Alden, broke up the fight.
The fight overshadowed a hard-fought game between the rivals that saw the Jayhawks snap Missouri’s seven-game winning streak in the series.
Missouri coach Cindy Stein apologized for the fight in her postgame interview and said her staff would look into what took place.
“I don’t know what happened yet but we are going to review the tape,” Stein said. “But that is ridiculous and our players should not be near any kind of thing like that.
“I like the fact that we stick up for one another but there is also a professionalism that we have to place ourselves in.”
Kansas coach Marian Washington also expressed regret that the emotion of the game carried over into a postgame fight.
“You don’t like seeing that,” Washington said. “The last time I saw something like that it was Missouri and Oklahoma.
“As key as rivalries are, for me personally it is about how you play the game and you have to try to teach your players what that means and you should always try to elude good sportsmanship.”
The final seconds of the game were just as frantic as those that followed the final buzzer.
Missouri (9-4, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) used five second-half 3-pointers to help erase a 15-point Kansas lead, but in the end the Tigers couldn’t connect from 3-point range when they needed it most.
With 42 seconds left and Missouri trailing 55-50, Tracy Lozier drew a foul on Kansas’ Leila Menguc and made both free throws to cut the Jayhawks lead to three.
On the Jayhawks’ next possession, Anquanita Burras threw the ball out of bounds with 12 seconds left, setting up a tying opportunity for the Tigers.
After a Missouri timeout, Lozier brought the ball up the court and found Evan Unrau in the corner, but after attracting a double-team Unrau passed the ball back to Lozier at the top of the key.
With two seconds left, Lozier lofted a shot from several feet behind the 3-point line that fell short of the rim and Burras rebounded the ball for Kansas, sealing the Jayhawks’ victory.
“I came off and I had a good look and it was just short,” Lozier said. “It was disappointing.”
Lozier led Missouri with 19 points and 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.
Although Missouri made 8-of-16 3-pointers, Stein said the Tigers’ lack of an inside presence played a large part in Missouri’s offensive woes.
The Tigers shot 32.7 percent and forward Stretch James was held to two points on 1-of-7 shooting.