KANSAS CITY — With 2:39 left, Missouri point guard LaToya Bond
put her head down, turned toward the basket, took one dribble and banked the ball softly off the backboard and through the hoop.
Her basket tied the game at 55, and Kansas never regained its lead, losing to Missouri 62-57.
But Bond didn’t immediately recall the play.
“Which one?” she said. “I can’t remember.”
Maybe that’s because Bond isn’t focused on herself during games. Missouri coach
said Bond is an unselfish player who “just goes out there and plays.”
“She can do so many things,” she said. “And I think her stepping up is so important.”
Stein said she was disappointed that Bond didn’t make
“I told her, ‘You can make a statement here today,’” Stein said.
On Tuesday, Bond did just that. She scored 12 and was one rebound short of a double-double. Although Kansas point guard Erica Hallman (19 points) outscored her, it was Bond who came up big for her team in the game’s final minutes.
Her drive to the basket ended a four-minute Missouri scoring drought, and with 54 seconds left, it was again Bond who gave the Tigers their first lead since 8:54 remained in the game.
“We wanted to come out there and win,” Bond said. “We wanted to put a statement down. We’re ready.”
Bond’s leadership and intensity against Kansas was a marked difference from the teams’ most recent meeting on Jan. 5 when Missouri lost 60-42. She took three shots in the first alf and had four more turnovers than assists.
Stein said she was disappointed in that lack of effort.
But Bond appeared to change that effort on Tuesday, helping lead to the Tigers to a victory.
Even if she doesn’t remember all the details.
Jayhawks break down: In the final 6:50, Kansas hit just one shot.
As a result, the score went from a four-point Kansas lead to a five-point Missouri win.
The Jayhawks’ failure to execute on offense may have cost them the game.
While four Jayhawks starters took open jump shots during the span, leading scorer Crystal Kemp shot twice.
“It wasn’t by design, I promise you,” Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said.
Henrickson said Kemp was sometimes in poor position to shoot and sometimes just not aggressive enough.
Despite that, the Jayhawks still had a chance to win, down three with 19 seconds left. Instead of setting up a play to get a 3-pointer, Henrickson decided to go for two quick two-point field goals.
“If you don’t make that 3, then they score at the free-throw line, you’re back to two possessions,” Henrickson said.
But Hallman missed the layup, Kansas fouled EeTisha Riddle and she knocked down two free throws to make it a five-point lead.
“That was it,” Henrickson said.
Pounding it in the Paint: Kansas and Missouri combined for five 3-pointers in a game dominated by inside scoring and dribble penetration.
The Jayhawks, who shot more than 50 percent in the first half, seemed to freeze up in the second. They were 9-of-35 for a paltry 25.7 percentage.
Henrickson said her team took a lot of off-balance and rushed shots.
Missouri, on the other hand, took and made mostly high-percentage shots, finishing 47 percent from the field.
“You can’t give people layups and win in this league,” Henrickson said.
After recording 20 total rebounds in their previous two meetings, the Tigers outrebounded Kansas 40-34 on Tuesday.
All of Missouri’s starters had at least five rebounds.