After a sequence of precarious runs within the first half to maintain the sport inside hanging distance, the Missouri Tigers got here out of the locker within the second corridor gunning for his or her first lead of the sport. After Haley Troup fed Jayla Kelly for a decide and roll layup, two key defensive stops on the opposite facet of the ground led to back-to-back three pointers from Hayley Frank.
With the gang on its ft and rallying for a run, Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper had no alternative however to make use of a timeout a minute and a half into the third quarter to let the mud settle. The timeout proved efficient, as Missouri (14-7, 3-4 SEC) suffered a 68-65 loss regardless of what could possibly be thought of a bounce-back efficiency within the midst of a four-game shedding streak. Tennessee (16-6, 8-0) prolonged its personal successful streak to 10 video games, persevering with its dominance in SEC play.
Facing a group vying for top-25 consideration and in the midst of a nine-game successful streak, the Tigers had their fingers full. To make issues worse, the Tigers entered the sport as certainly one of SEC’s least dominant rebounding groups.
Rising as much as the problem, Jayla Kelly offered a jolt of much-needed scrap on either side of the ball in a profession recreation.
“I felt like I used to be actually making an attempt to let the sport come to me so far as not speeding, not forcing pictures,” Kelly stated. “I’ve been speaking about being extra aggressive with rebounding, so being intentional with that and getting as many as I might.”
The junior out of Chesterfield, Missouri ended with 14 factors and 9 rebounds, together with 5 offensive rebounds in what ended as a standout efficiency for the Tigers on the glass.
Tennessee shot 53.6% within the first half, together with 2-6 from deep. Tennessee’s main scorer Rickea Jackson shared the scoring load with Karol Striplin and Sara Puckett, with the trio combining for 22 factors within the first half. Puckett completed with 17 factors (7-9 taking pictures), whereas Jackson added 15 (6-11), together with the game-winning layup with 1.1 seconds remaining.
“She [Jackson] is a really very proficient participant, however I assumed for essentially the most half, defensively we did what we would have liked to do,” Pingeton stated of Missouri’s protection. “I imply we had some breakdowns in some possessions and missed a pair key field outs which can be simply going to linger, however total we did a very nice job.”
Meanwhile, the Tigers relied closely upon Kelly to offer the offensive muscle wanted to remain within the recreation, as she dominated the paint with eight factors on 4-6 taking pictures. Missouri shot 30.3% from the sphere and simply 18.2% from lengthy vary, but solely trailed by six heading into the second half.
“I favored the tempo we have been enjoying at in that first half,” Pingeton stated. “You simply felt prefer it was going to be okay as a result of we have been enjoying with good tempo, I assumed we had good ball motion and we had beauty, they simply weren’t falling for us.”
In spite of the comparatively poor first-half taking pictures splits, the Tigers did an incredible job of beating Tennessee on the Vols’ weak factors. They continuously got here again by hacking aside Tennessee leads with well timed steals and offensive rebounds, incomes further possessions and momentum-changing buckets in consequence.
Though they cooled off within the second half, the Vols completed 28-58 from the sphere, counting on a strong offensive assault to search out the mushy spots within the Tigers’ zone protection and attacking these spots of the dribble and off the cross.
MU relied closely on Hayley Frank’s season-high 26 factors down the stretch, carried by her 19 second-half factors to deliver the sport again into the stability. Frank additionally drew two key offensive fouls within the fourth and introduced down two offensive rebounds, serving to the Tigers in acquiring a lead midway by way of the fourth quarter.
“I assumed my teammates have been actually keen screeners and making an attempt to get me open appears and hitting me on the proper occasions, so a giant credit score to them,” Frank stated. “Even once I was lacking pictures my confidence didn’t waver.”
But within the ultimate two minutes, the Tigers did not comprise the Tennessee offense and gave away a pair key performs to lose maintain of the sport and find yourself with the loss. After a pair of offensive rebounds, a key turnover within the ultimate minute resulting in a layup and a defensive breakdown to permit a game-tying three, Tennessee fully erased Missouri’s benefit.
“We didn’t have the sense of urgency that you could have on the finish of the sport. It was a tricky jiffy there.” Robin Pingeton
Missouri continues its SEC marketing campaign on the street at Georgia on Thursday and at Kentucky on Sunday, hoping to construct on a tricky loss to snap its four-game shedding streak.