Final exams might be a nice change of pace for Missouri women’s basketball team.
Few exam situations could be tougher than the ruthless offense Southwest Missouri State used Wednesday night.
The Bears (4-2) never trailed in a 66-44 victory against the Tigers (4-4) in front of 8,294 at Hammons Student Center in Springfield.
It was the fourth straight win for SMSU, which won its 24th straight on its home court.
“Southwest Missouri State has got the chemistry,” Missouri coach Cindy Stein said. “They deserved to win this game. We just didn’t execute it, pure and simple.”
Jenni Lingor, the Bears’ 5-foot-10 senior guard, scored 24 points and had 10 rebounds and eight assists. Guards Sarah Klaassen and K.C. Cowgill combined for 21 points.
Missouri junior center Christelle N’Garsanet led the Tigers with 16 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, her second double-double of the season.
Missouri shot 31.7 percent from the field, compared to 43.5 for the Bears. SMSU came into the game shooting 53 percent in its past three games.
“We had the shooters out there,” Stein said. “We just didn’t have the makers.”
After a brief Missouri rally with about 10 minutes to go in the first half, the Bears pulled away on an 18-6 run.
Stein blamed herself for not figuring out what makes her team “tick.” The “effort is there,” she said, but her team has yet to show it can come into practice with the necessary energy and intensity. As a result, she said the Tigers are having trouble generating that energy for games.
Stein said the Tigers didn’t consistently get the ball down low to N’Garsanet, and when they did, she didn’t take enough shots. Missouri went to the free-throw line only five times.
SMSU also scored 13 points off Missouri turnovers, compared with six for the Tigers.
After a break for finals, Missouri faces No. 2 Stanford at 4 p.m. Dec. 18 at Mizzou Arena.