Bond back for Tigers

Missouri’s point guard plays up to standards in the second half.
Monday, January 3, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:18 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

At halftime, LaToya Bond was upset in the locker room.

Against St. Louis on Sunday, Bond only had two points in the first half.

“I was really frustrated and I just had to get myself back into the game,” Bond said.

Bond, Missouri’s point guard, scored 20 on Dec. 3 against Mississippi Valley State then went three games without breaking double digits. She scored 13 on Friday against Miami of Ohio and didn’t want to slump again.

Bond, a 5-foot-7 junior, came out in the second half and delivered. She scored eight points in the last six minutes to finish with a game-high 17 to go along with seven rebounds.

“I thought Tonya showed you a little bit more of what’s she’s capable of,” Missouri coach Cindy Stein said. “She’s such a good slasher.”

Bond did more than weave in and out of the St. Louis defense. She came up big on defensive as well.

Bond had three of Missouri’s 14 steals, one coming against Billiken guard Hayley Leake.

With 1:13 left, Leake was struggling to cross midcourt with Bond swiping at the ball. Bond poked the ball loose and with her head down, dribbled straight for the basket where she converted a layup.

“We got steals when we needed them,” Stein said. “Tonya’s pick at the end kind of deflated them.”

On the next position, Leake tried to shoot a jumper in the lane, but Bond blocked it. Bond scored the last basket of the game with 14 seconds left on a jumper.

It was the first game Bond played without her trademark white, Nike headband. Its absence had nothing to do with ritual or superstition, just a kind-hearted gesture.

“After the last game, I gave it away to a little girl and I just haven’t bought another one,” Bond said.

DOWN TWO: Another player has apparently left the Missouri women’s basketball program.

Freshman guard Crystal Howard, who is from Omaha, Neb., was not listed on the Missouri roster for Sunday’s game against Saint Louis.

Kevin Fletcher, from the MU media relations department would not say why Howard has left.

Howard played in nine games for the Tigers, starting in two. She played 19.9 minutes per game and was averaging 5.2 points.

Howard is the second player to leave the program this season.

On Dec. 9, freshman Brittany Mannings left the team for family reasons.

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