Kulas shines in final home game as a Tiger, Missouri wins 75-72

Story by Samuel Quintela
Photos by Sam Richmond

Missouri senior forward Bri Kulas (13) attempts a shot against two Ole Miss defenders. Kulis led all scorers with 26 points in the game.

Missouri senior forward Bri Kulas (13) attempts a shot against two Ole Miss defenders. Kulis led all scorers with 26 points in the game.

COLUMBIA- On senior night, Missouri guard Morgan Eye stole the show. In the beginning of the second half, the sophomore hit five 3-pointers in a row to help Missouri secure its second win against the Ole Miss Rebels this season.

“Their motion offense is tough and then you got her running around out there so you got to chase her around,” Ole Miss coach Matt Insell said. “She is a weapon, and anybody who plays them you basically have to face and guard her all over the place and so then you end up playing four on four sometimes, but she is a weapon.”

Ole Miss finished the game with a better field goal percentage, but Missouri’s 48.1 percent 3-point shooting was the key to securing the home win. This is the first time in 14 years that the Tigers won against three ranked teams in a season.

While two of Missouri’s players reached the 1,000 points mark in their careers, Eye and senior Bri Kulas, the win didn’t come easy. The Rebels were able stop the Tigers offense in the first half with strong zone coverage, going into the break with a 34-29 lead.

“I don’t think that for one minute tonight we thought that we were going to lose this game, we were very confident,” Eye said. “Coach came in at halftime and said ‘did anyone had fun?’ and no one raised their hand. We really wanted to come out, play a little more loose, have a little fun and we did that.”

 

During the second half, Missouri played a lot more aggressive. The team was able to get important points in the paint, along with important fouls. The Tigers also improved their 3-point shooting. Missouri went on a 15-7 run first four minutes of the second half that gave them a 44-41 lead.

While Eye’s 3-point shooting was a game changer, Kulas had a good performance during her final home game at Mizzou Arena. The senior ended the game with 26 points, six rebounds and shot 9-11 from the free-throw line.

“They have a great player that is graduating, Bri Kulas, she made some unbelievable plays and I am glad she is graduating, because I am about tired of playing against her,” Insell said.

The Tigers had to overcome not having Kulas for final two minutes because she fouled out. Freshmen Jordan Frericks and Lindsey Cunningham stepped up during Kulas’ absence combining for six free throws in the final 1:17.

“As soon as she fouled out, me and Lindsey had the same thing in mind. We gathered everyone right away and we were like we going to finish this game for Bri, we are going to finish this game for our seniors,” Eye said.

While Kulas kept a cool demeanor, coach Pingeton said she knew the magnitude of what senior night meant to the star forward.

“Bri might not have showed on the outside but I guarantee there was stuff going on the inside, because she is a pretty dang emotional kid too and so invested on this program and her teammates,” Pingeton said.

The 17-11 Tigers finish the regular season in Fayetteville, Arkansas on March 2 to face the 18-10 Arkansas Razorbacks before heading to Duluth, Georgia on March 5 for the Southeastern Conference tournament.

 

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