Missouri's Amber Smith came to play Friday against Green Bay.
The rest of her team? Not so much.
Smith's 23 points weren't enough to save Missouri, as the team capped off a frustrating week with 40 excruciating minutes of basketball that resulted in a 56-49 defeat at the hands of the Phoenix on Friday night at Mizzou Arena.
The loss was Missouri’s first nonconference home loss since Dec. 3, 2011 against Northwestern.
Smith did her part and then some, finishing 7 of 17 from the field and 8 for 10 at the free-throw line. She also had a strong presence on the lower block, pulling down 10 rebounds for her fourth career double-double and second of the season.
But while Smith had a banner day, the rest of the team did not. The junior guard was the only Tiger to make more than two field goals and finish better than 50 percent from the free-throw line.
As a team, Missouri shot 30 percent from the field and 59 percent from the free-throw line, while turning the ball over 18 times.
Head coach Robin Pingeton found the turnovers to be disappointing, especially because they came against a team that didn't press Missouri's ball-handlers.
"That’s not going to work," Pingeton said. "I feel like at times we’re trying to force the action. We’ve got to trust the offense a little bit more instead of trying to make things happen."
For the second time in as many games, Missouri's best player couldn't keep herself on the court. Senior guard Sophie Cunningham played 28 minutes thanks to foul trouble. When she was on the court, she was often double- or triple-teamed, a result in large part of a lack of movement from the rest of Missouri's offense.
As a result, Cunningham finished with eight points on 2-of-9 shooting, her lowest scoring output since she finished with seven points on March 2 against Georgia.
Missouri's All-American said her time on the bench didn't affect her shooting rhythm, and she didn't make any excuses for her misses.
"I had a good mentality tonight, but I was 2 for 9 and am just not shooting the ball how I want to right now," she said.
With Cunningham forced to the sideline, Pingeton turned to her reserves, but that didn't work, either. Despite having six players enter the game off the bench, the Tigers mustered just four bench points and were far outpaced by Green Bay's 25.
One area where the Tigers improved over Tuesday's game was rebounding. The team out-rebounded Green Bay 40-33 and pulled in 15 offensive rebounds, setting up plenty of second-chance opportunities for the offense. Very few of them found their mark, though, thanks in part to the Tigers' abysmal 3-for-10 mark in the layup department. Kick-outs didn't work, either: The team shot 6 of 23 from 3 in the game.
Pingeton said her team's rebounding was a silver lining to an otherwise difficult night.
"We really challenged them from a rebounding standpoint and I thought we did a really good job on the boards tonight," Pingeton said. "That’s definitely a positive we can take away from this."
Going forward, Pingeton said her team will focus on getting as many shots up as possible before it takes on Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Monday night at Mizzou Arena. Tip-off for the game is set for 7 p.m.
Supervising editor is Theo DeRosa.