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MU savors win against Huskers

Missouri pulls away in second half to upset No. 19 host Nebraska
Sunday, February 18, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:09 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

At Cold Stone Creamery on Saturday night, Carlynn Savant ordered a Diet Coke while her teammates all ordered ice cream.

She chose to exercise self-control, denying herself the reward because it was late at night and unhealthy, she said.

“Toy (Richbow) has decided to sit in front of me and taunt me,” Savant said, “because she knows I won’t eat it.”

[photo]

Nebraska’s Danielle Page, left, applies pressure on Missouri’s EeTisha Riddle. The Tigers have won seven consecutive games at Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Neb. (NATI HARNIK/The Associated Press)

After every road victory, the Missouri women’s basketball team tries to stop for ice cream in celebration. The Tigers extended their streak to seven-straight wins Saturday in Lincoln, Neb., beating the No. 19 Cornhuskers 65-53.

Missouri coach Cindy Stein had her usual Oreo shake on the bus after the win, the second-straight for the team.

“I think that it just proves how much depth the Big 12 is from top to bottom,” Stein said. “Any given night, anybody can beat anybody. It’s huge because Nebraska is such a good team.”

Each team plays well at the other’s home court. Nebraska (21-6, 9-4 Big 12) has won four straight at Mizzou Arena, and Missouri (16-10, 4-9 Big 12) has now won seven straight at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Savant had her second-straight double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

The senior forward, who is second in the NCAA with a 92.4 free-throw percentage, made her way into the record books again by adding to her free-throw streak without even knowing it. Her 32 straight free throws now sits in the NCAA all-time top 20. Her streak ended, though, when she missed her third free throw of the night.

“I didn’t know how many I had made in a row, but I don’t like missing free throws anyway because they’re free,” Savant said. “I was so mad. Everyone misses some. That’s the one thing I wish I could change was that one free throw.

“It’s not really that crucial, but I’m kind of a perfectionist.”

Senior guard Tiffany Brooks gave the Tigers their first 11 points of the night, but didn’t score again.

“The first half, I wanted to come out and be aggressive, and I knew the big part was containing Keira Hardy,” Brooks said.

Her defensive assignment was to shut down Hardy, the Cornhuskers’ starting point guard and one of the top scorers. Brooks said the task of guarding her was a team effort, and containing Hardy alone could wear a person out.

“If you just try to have one person guard her, there is no way offensively you’re going to be aggressive,” Brooks said. “It will take your legs off you.”

Kelsey Griffin, a forward, led the Cornhuskers with 16 points. Hardy had 12.

Brooks, who is battling a bruised right knee, played 30 minutes after sitting out for a little under six consecutive minutes in the first half.

The Tigers outrebounded the Huskers, 44-32, and had 17 offensive boards.

Nebraska usually plays deep into its bench to wear out its opponent, so the Tigers had to respond. In the first half, Stein played 12 of 14 players, but tightened the lineup in the second half. Playing only eight minutes in the first half, freshman Jessra Johnson had two 3-pointers and a block.

“They go so deep, and that’s one factor,” Stein said. “The other factor, our second team has been hanging around and has been doing a good job of being scrappy and getting scrappy plays.”

The lead changed 12 times, and the game was tied eight times, including at 29 points going into halftime. Stein said it was hard-fought basketball all night for both teams.

“Defensively, Nebraska pushes you at all angles,” Stein said. “They really attack the basket. Their posts are big and physical.

But for the team, it wasn’t just about knocking off a ranked team or getting two conference wins in a row for the first time this season.”

“It’s huge I think tonight, we came together as a team and we wanted to get a win,” Brooks said, “and I think everybody did a good job stepping in doing what they could.

“The biggest thing for us is just the confidence booster that we can play with good teams. We’re just starting to get our confidence back.”


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