By Samuel Quintela
The season ended Wednesday night for the Missouri women’s basketball team with a 73-70 loss to Mississippi State.
“It was a tough loss, but we came in here, wanted revenge from Mississippi State who beat us earlier this season,” Missouri freshman guard Sierra Michaelis said.
The Bulldogs made the first shot of the game, showing they wanted to repeat the win against the Tigers in the regular season. Although Mississippi State was able to beat Missouri on January 26 in Mississippi, the victory did not come easy for them as they won 69-62.
The beginning of the first round game of the 2014 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament gave the idea the winning team would probably have to face the same fate — a win would not come easily.
The Tigers first lead of the game came after seven minutes of play when Morgan Stock hit a 3-pointer for the 14-12 lead. As the teams traded leads the Stock sisters, Morgan and Maddie, were crucial to giving Missouri a nine point lead, its biggest in the first half. The Stock sisters hit three 3-pointers in a row to help the Tigers in the first half.
Senior Bri Kulas played very well also, scoring 12 points grabbing five rebounds for the Tigers in the first half. But that was not enough to hold the Bulldogs as they scored 38 points and had a 48.4 shooting percentage.
“First off, I just want to say good game to Mississippi State. They played hard. But I thought that our team played hard, as well. I wouldn’t question our effort for anything tonight,” Kulas said. The loss to the Bulldogs marked her last game as a Tiger. “Definitely not the way I wanted to go out. But I love my teammates and my coaches. Just going to keep moving forward from here.”
Kulas ended the game with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Missouri’s field goal percentage was 40.7 for the first half and went into the locker room trailing by four points.
After outscoring the Bulldogs 17-7 in the first eight minutes of the second half, the Tigers struggled on the defensive side, . , making it impossible for them to keep the lead. Missouri allowed Mississippi State to stay only two points away from tying the score with 6:35 minutes left.
Even the 14 points scored in the second half by Michaelis was not enough to secure the win as the teams traded leads three times with five minutes left on the clock.
Mississippi State regained the lead at 2:07 and never gave it up.
“When you’re in the building stages, playing in a tough, tough league, you’re going to have some peaks and valleys throughout the course of a season,” Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. “Our kids have stayed extremely resilient. I think that is pretty amazing for a group of 18‑, 19‑, 20‑year‑olds to be able to do that consistently throughout the course of a season.”
Missouri ends the season at 17-13 overall and 6-11 in conference play.