Flores sets blocked shots record but Mizzou falls short against Oklahoma

Story by Derek Klein
Photos by Lauren Delaney

Christine Flores goes up for a block against the Sooners. Flores had the most blocks for the Tigers, stopping five shots in the game.

Christine Flores needed only one block to set the Missouri career record. Three minutes into the game she had it.

“That was one of my ultimate goals, and I’m really happy that I finally got it,” said Flores, who finished the game with five blocked shots. Mary Bruggestrass (1981-85) had held the record with 177 blocks.

The early block set a defensive tone for the Tigers on Saturday at Mizzou Arena, but it was not enough in a 62-59 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners.

Missouri opened the game with an intense defensive effort. The Tigers (10-9, 0-8) forced three turnovers and Flores added two blocks in the first four minutes of play.

“I think these girls finally have it figured out, and understand just what kind of toughness we’re going to compete with night in and night out,” coach Robin Pingeton said.

Flores led the way defensively in the first half. Oklahoma (13-6, 5-3) struggled to make shots, finishing the half with only seven made baskets. The Tigers defense held the Sooners without a field goal for more than eight minutes.

Pingeton praised Flores for her effort on both sides of the ball. “I thought she really put our team on her shoulders tonight,” she said.

Players intercepted passes, drew charges, and caused multiple traveling violations. The Sooners finished the first half with 10 turnovers, more than half of their season average.

Missouri led at halftime for only the second time in conference play this season, but came out slow after the break. The Sooners put together a 7-0 run to start the half.

“I felt like some execution and some missed rebound opportunities in the first few minutes of the second half kind of hurt us,” Pingeton said.

The Tigers allowed 12 offensive rebounds in the second half. As a result, the Sooners managed 11 second-chance points after only four in the first half.

Despite losing a game in which they led by 11 points, coach Pingeton believed the team took a step forward.

“That’s the best effort we’ve had for 40 minutes from our team so far this season,” she said.

Pingeton left the last home game extremely disappointed in the effort of her players calling it “a setback.” Her tone was different after the loss to Oklahoma.

The veteran leadership and effort of Flores helped the Tigers to get back on track and move forward as a program, according to Pingeton.

While Flores was able to set a career record for Missouri, Pingeton was pleased Flores kept her mind on the overall goal.

“Christine will be the first to tell you it’s about our team, it’s about our program,” Pingeton said.

Missouri faces No. 1 Baylor on Wednesday, Feb. 1 in Columbia. The undefeated Bears beat the Tigers 90-46 at Waco, Texas, on January 4.

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