Baylor defense stifles Missouri

Thursday, February 12, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:13 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Frustration was Missouri coach Cindy Stein’s word of the night.

The disappointment was apparent after the Tigers 83-59 loss to No. 18 Baylor on Wednesday at Hearnes Center.

“I think that we showed a lot of frustration on the court,” Stein said. “It was a frustrating game to be a part of, it’s almost an embarrassing game to be a part of, and we did not come out on the good end of that.”

Missouri (12-9, 3-7 Big 12 Conference) struggled to stop Baylor’s offense and to score against its defense.

Missouri’s MyEsha Perkins, a senior guard, scored first, but the Bears (18-5, 6-4) responded with a 9-0 run in 2:23. Baylor forward Steffanie Blackmon scored 14 points in the first half, including six during the Lady Bears’ run. She finished with 22 points and seven rebounds.

Tigers miss center Fisher

The Tigers were without senior center Melanie Fisher. Fisher, who sprained her back against Colorado on Jan. 31, is a leader on the court and would have helped the Tigers’ defensively, Stein said.

“It hurt us tonight the fact that Melanie is such a great communicator,” Stein said. “We had a lot of miscommunication down low.”

Fisher’s absence allowed Baylor to establish an inside presence with Blackmon and forward Sophia Young. The Lady Bears scored 34 points inside, with Blackmon and Young combining for 20 rebounds.

Missouri struggled against Baylor’s defense, which had six steals and five blocks.

“The defensive teams win your conference,” Stein said. “Baylor is one of the best defensive teams in our conference and that is why they are doing so well.”

Senior forward Evan Unrau scored four points in the first half, going 0-of-5 from the field. Unrau did not make her first shot until 17:43 left in the second half, but finished with a team-high 14 points, after making 9-of-10 from the free-throw line.

“I was frustrated,” Unrau said. “I was getting shots, getting looks, but they just weren’t going in. I figured I’d keep taking it and eventually it’d go in.”

Tigers struggle from behind the arc

Baylor’s defensive pressure kept Missouri’s shooters from finding a rhythm. The Tigers made 21-of-61 shots and 2-of-10 3-pointers.

“I thought we had some good looks, but we missed them,” Stein said. “When that happens that rim gets really small.”

Baylor’s 56-34 rebounding advantage also hurt Missouri, Stein said. The Lady Bears had 25 offensive rebounds for 22 points.

The Tigers started the second half trailing 40-28, but showed life in the second half when Perkins stole the ball for a layup, cutting Baylor’s lead to 54-45. Baylor forward Emily Niemann responded with four 3-pointers, extending the lead to 78-57 with 2:45 left.

“Emily Niemann can light it up from anywhere on the floor,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson said. “When she steps across halfcourt she thinks she can make it.”

A combination of factors hurt Missouri, Unrau said.

“I just don’t think we played well together tonight,” Unrau said. “I think it just felt kind of weird out there. I don’t know what it was, but I just think our offensive flow just wasn’t there.”

Bond returns after breaking left foot

The return of sophomore guard LaToya Bond might help stabilize the offense. Bond scored nine points in 13 minutes in her first game back after breaking her left foot Jan. 4 at St. Louis University.

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