LAWRENCE, Kan. — MyEsha Perkins returned to the lineup Saturday and showed Missouri something it had been missing.
Perkins scored 15 points as the MU women’s basketball team defeated Kansas 76-49 at Allen Fieldhouse.
Missouri (10-6, 1-4 Big 12 Conference) avenged a 55-52 loss to Kansas on Jan. 10 in Columbia.
Kansas falls to 8-9, 1-5 in the Big 12.
“I am glad we won because it was a good game,” Perkins said.
A 5-foot-9 senior guard, Perkins returned to the lineup after serving a two-game suspension because of her involvement in the fight that took place at midcourt between Missouri and Kansas. On Jan 14, the Big 12 suspended Perkins for one game, and Missouri coach Cindy Stein added a second game to the penalty.
Perkins entered the game Saturday averaging 15.5 minutes in six games and had an average of six points.
With 10:12 left, Perkins started a scoring run in which she outscored Kansas 10-2 in the next 2:09.
Senior guard Tracy Lozier stole the ball and passed it to Perkins for a layup to give Missouri a 51-36 lead. The next time down, Perkins made another layup off a Lozier assist. Perkins scored again when she hit a shot from the right side after rebounding a miss from freshman forward EeTisha Riddle.
Lozier and Perkins connected again with 8:45 left when Lozier made a defensive rebound and brought the ball up to midcourt before passing inside to Perkins for an easy layup.
Perkin’s final points came with 8:03 left when Riddle passed to Perkins for a shot from the right side to give Missouri a 59-38 lead.
Perkins earned a spot in the starting lineup because of the effort she has shown in practice, Stein said.
“I think it took her awhile to get into the fold when she started playing at semester, but she had been doing well, even with the suspension,” Stein said. “She came hard every day to practice and was doing the things that you need to to win playing time.
“I felt like she has already been punished for what she’s done, but she needs to also be rewarded for the things that she has been doing to take care of business for us, and she did a great job today.”
Perkins made her season debut against Evansville on Dec. 21 after missing the first part of the season because she was academically ineligible.
Perkins was one point shy of tying her career-high that she set at Iowa on Dec. 29, 2002.
UNRAU REPRIMANDED: The Big 12 announced Friday that it is publicly reprimanding MU senior forward Evan Unrau for her involvement in the fight at midcourt after the game against Kansas. The conference decided initially to reprimand Unrau, but Missouri appealed. The Conference Board of Appeal voted to deny the appeal Friday. Unrau will not miss any games for the reprimand.
FANS FOLLOW THE TIGERS: It was hard to miss the block of black and gold behind the Missouri bench. A group of about 100 Tigers faithful signed up for the trip through the booster club, filling two buses. Many other Missouri fans also made their presence known.
“As soon as we stepped off the bus today, our fans are cheering us on,” Stein said. “We appreciate their support so much because, being 0-4 in the conference, there are not a lot of people who would do that for you. Those are true fans right there.”