"Packing the Zou” did not help the Missouri women’s basketball team.
Missouri lost to Stanford 71-55 on Saturday in front of 7,585 fans at Mizzou Arena.
“I think that Stanford’s a great team, we knew that coming in,” Missouri coach Cindy Stein said. “I think we’re going to see them in Indianapolis at the Final Four.”
The Tigers (4-5) kept No. 2 Stanford (8-0) within reach, down 29-21 at halftime, but a seven-minute Cardinal offensive push in the second half broke the game open.
The Tigers were down 39-25 when Cardinal guards, Kelley Suminski and Krista Rappahahn starting hitting 3-pointers.
Stein said it is no surprise when a team of Stanford’s caliber gets hot offensively, but said it was too easy for the Cardinal on Saturday.
“It would have been nice if they were hitting the three’s over defense,” Stein said.
Suminski and Rappahahn made four shots from behind the arc in three minutes to pull away from Missouri 53-31. They combined to shoot 5-for-9 from 3-point range.
Stanford’s ability to shoot from the outside opened up opportunities on the interior.
“It takes a lot of pressure off of Brooke (Smith) and (T’Nae) Thiel inside,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.
Smith, a 6-foot-3 center, and Thiel, a 6-1 forward, took advantage.
Smith, who was averaging 11.7 points, only had four in the first half, but finished with 16 to lead Stanford.
“The first half, I missed some shots I shouldn’t have missed, that I didn’t finish on,” Smith said.
Thiel grabbed 11 rebounds, helping Stanford outrebound Missouri 45-22.
Missouri’s Megan Roney, a 6-3 center, was pounded on defense by Stanford’s big bodies, but still led the Tigers in scoring.
Roney shot 3-for-3 from behind the 3-point line to finish with 13 points.
Stanford pressed the Tigers the entire game, which created disarray in Missouri’s offense.
VanDerveer said this was the first year she has emphasized the press.
“We have a deeper team then we’ve had in a long time, and by playing more up-tempo it allows us to play more people,” VanDerveer said.
Missouri point guard LaToya Bond, who is averaging 12.2 points, did not take a shot the entire first half.
She shot 2-for-5 in the second half, scoring seven points.
VanDerveer said her team did not execute well offensively, and that should be one of its strengths.
Stanford will try to correct these errors before it continues its five-game road trip against Tennessee on Dec. 21.
“There are so many things that happened (in the game) that were really good,” Stein said. “Did it give us a win, no, but at least maybe I’ll eat Christmas dinner now.”
The Tigers will visit Miami (Ohio) on Dec. 31 with tipoff at