When a Missouri freshman comes off the bench to outscore the opposing team’s star on the road, that should be a good sign for the Tigers.
Except for Thursday in Vermillion, South Dakota, when Hayley Frank scored 15 points to Ciara Duffy’s 13 and MU women’s basketball still came up well short in a 72-56 loss.
The matchup against South Dakota, an undefeated team on the verge of a Top 25 ranking and set to be the class of the mid-major Summit League, was always going to be tough. But when Missouri went blow for blow with the Coyotes for much of the first half, entering the break down 34-28, the eventual double-digit loss didn’t seem like the most likely outcome.
Instead, the Coyotes took control late, using three runs of 5-0 or more in the fourth quarter to keep the Tigers at bay. For the second straight game, an offense stifled by poor shooting left Missouri unable to keep up.
Missouri (1-4) shot just 34.5% from the field, including a stagnant third quarter when half of the Tigers’ 12 points came from the free throw line. Frank’s 15 points led the team despite her picking up three personal fouls in the first half.
Amber Smith, Jordan Chavis and Aijha Blackwell all attempted more field goals than Frank, but shot a combined 33.3%.
With Duffy, South Dakota’s senior catalyst, being held to her season low in scoring, it was Monica Arens who took the mantle for the Coyotes. The junior dropped 18 points and grabbed six rebounds as South Dakota (5-0) earned a double-digit win over Missouri for the second straight season.
The Coyotes’ 72-point haul was tied for the lowest total given up by the Tigers this season, speaking to the defensive struggles Missouri has endured through five games. Hannah Schuchts was a bright spot Thursday, matching her career high with five blocks.
The fourth consecutive defeat gave Missouri its longest losing streak since 2014-15, and its longest skid to come entirely against nonconference opponents since 1984-85, when the team lost to Georgia, Rutgers, Auburn and Miami in succession.
The Tigers are 1-4 for just the second time in program history, with the first occasion coming in 2008.
Unable to find the win column in road trips to Green Bay and South Dakota, Missouri returns to Columbia desperately in need of a win. The Tigers will host SIU-Edwardsville, a team off to its own 1-4 start, at 2 p.m. Sunday at Mizzou Arena.