Disappointment is running deep for the Missouri women’s basketball team.
Despite a furious comeback, the Tigers lost to Nebraska 74-69 in a Big 12 Conference matchup Wednesday and what seemed to be a promising season is starting to slip away.
Missouri (9-5, 0-3 Big 12) began with a 9-2 nonconference record but is reeling. Missouri’s troubles began Jan. 5 when it learned LaToya Bond, its starting point guard, would miss 4-6 weeks with a broken left foot.
Since then, Missouri suffered a 95-59 loss at Kansas State on Jan. 7, lost to Kansas 55-52 in a game marred by a postgame brawl Saturday and could not overcome an 18-point deficit against the Huskers.
Wednesday’s loss also marks the Tigers’ second straight at home, but Missouri coach Cindy Stein sees no reason to panic.
“I think it is too early to panic,” Stein said. “I believe in the character of this team … this team can do it and we have to find ways of being a little more consistent.”
With Bond sidelined, the effects of senior guard MyEsha Perkins’ suspension for her role in the fight against Kansas were evident against Nebraska.
Missouri shot 36.1 percent and struggled finding ways to score without Bond and Perkins, two of the Tigers’ biggest playmakers, in the game.
“I think you can see what our struggles are offensively,” Stein said. “A lot of our offenses are designed for a slashing type guard and so when you don’t have that available to you, your offense has to find other ways to score.”
Although Stein sees no reason to sound a major alarm, the losses are obviously wearing on Missouri. After the loss to the Huskers, Missouri senior Evan Unrau was visibly emotional when expressing her disappointment.
“It’s been a rough couple weeks for us in terms of everything that went on against Kansas,” Unrau said. “I don’t know, it’s just been rough.”
SUSPENSION NEWS: The Big 12 office suspended five players Wednesday for their roles in the fight after Saturday’s Missouri-Kansas game.
As expected, two Missouri players were disciplined. Christelle N’Garsanet was suspended one game for attempting to strike a Kansas player after being pushed to the floor. N’Garsanet served the suspension against Nebraska.
The Big 12 gave Perkins a one-game suspension, but Missouri added an extra game to her suspension because tape revealed Perkins punching a Kansas player.
“Our discipline has nothing to do with wins and losses,” Stein said. “It has to do with right and wrong.
“(Perkins’) reaction and responses were inappropriate and we can’t have that.”
Kansas’ Kandis Bonner, Tamara Ransburg and Larisha Graves received one-game suspensions.
Bonner was suspended for attempting to kick a Missouri player, Ransburg for attempting to strike a Missouri player and Graves for attempting to grab a Missouri player.
Kansas freshman Lauren Ervin also received a public reprimand for taunting Missouri after the game.
Earlier in the week, Kansas coach Marian Washington said Missouri was to blame for instigating the fight.
She also said she saw no reason for any of her players to be disciplined.
Those comments were contrary to Big 12 policy and earned a reprimand from Commissioner Kevin Weiberg.
“I am pleased that University of Kansas Athletic Director Lew Perkins has adequately addressed this issue with coach Washington,” Weiberg said in a statement. “Further, the issues raised publicly were not the cause of the unsporting behavior by players, based upon the information available at this time.”
RECORD BREAKER: Tracy Lozier’s 2-of-8 performance from 3-point range moved her to the top of Missouri’s record book. Lozier has 344 3-point attempts, passing Julie Helm for the record.
Lozier has made 122-of-344 3-pointers, leaving her two away from breaking Helm’s school record.