After hitting just her second 3-pointer of the season, Tiffany Brooks let out a slight grin. She had just put Missouri up by nine with just a few minutes left in the first half.
“I looked at Coach Stein and knew not to take another one, but then I did,” she said. “I’m more of a penetrator, so I just tried to mix it up a little bit.”
The Tigers (13-2, 1-1 conference) played with the most intensity they’ve shown at home all season when they beat Iowa State (13-2, 1-1) 66-56 on Saturday. Even though Brooks missed her second 3-point attempt, she ended the game with 20 points, her third 20-point game of the season. She and fouled out with just under two minutes before the game ended.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” she said. “Like Coach Stein said, (Lyndsey) Medders is a great player, so I just tried to not give her an open look.”
MU coach Cindy Stein said the main strategy against the Cyclones was to try to show different looks on offense and defense.
“We tried to do some different things against Iowa State as far as keeping them off balance and throwing different people at Lyndsey Medders, because she’s a tremendous player,” Stein said. “Our kids did a great job of sharing the ball, we had big shots throughout the night, whether it was Tiffany or Tish or Alyssa.”
Sophomore Alyssa Hollins made two of five 3-pointers and ended the game with 10 points. Her second three-pointer put Missouri up 54-53 with just under six minutes to play. From there, the Tigers outscored the Cyclones 12-3 in what Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly called a “disaster” for his team.
“Their seniors played with a great amount of emotion,” Fennelly said. “They let us know the whole night what was going on, and they enjoyed that. And they kicked our butt, so they can enjoy it all they want.”
Hollins said the Tigers made it their goal to make Iowa State work for everything by picking up their defense.
“It was crazy,” she said. “That’s as intense as we’ve ever been. It was great, everyone was screaming. It’s usually me, Tish and maybe Tiffany, but it was Carlynn and Blair and everyone. It was great.”
After its disappointing loss to Colorado on Wednesday, Stein said that coming into Saturday’s game she knew that keeping defensive pressure on Iowa State shooters was going to be most important. The Cyclone’s 32.3 shooting percentage was a season low for the Tigers.
“It was a game they had to win,” Fennelly said. “I don’t think there’s any question they were very motivated. I’m sure no one was in a good mood when they came back. They played with a great sense of urgency, and that’s a credit to their players and coaches.”
Senior EeTisha Riddle scored 10 of the first 12 Missouri points within the first six minutes, but didn’t score again the rest of the half. Stein said Saturday that even when the ball didn’t make it inside to Riddle, the Tigers were able to make adjustments and score points other ways.
“It helps get you back on track,” she said. “Colorado’s a game we thought we should have had. We’ve got too many games to dwell on what happened. We wanted to get back on track, and whether we won or lost this game, I think the most important thing was coming out really hard and showing we could be the type of ball club we wanted to be and we are.”