COLUMBIA, MO — While the sting of Sophie Cunningham’s absence on the court was evident tonight, a couple of her teammates stepped up, and filled the void valiantly. Senior Sierra Michaelis was clutch, as she had 14 points, 9 steals, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Also chipping in was Lianna Doty, who contributed with 15 points, six rebounds, four assists. Their performances helped the Tigers secure a 64-57 win over the Wichita State Shockers, raising them to 8-3 record overall this season.
“Probably out of all of my wins here at Mizzou, this is the one I’m the most proud of,” said coach Pingeton, proudly, on her short benches’ resilience on the court tonight.
The Shockers completely shocked the Tigers early on, as they blitzed them in the first quarter with a plethora of threes. Couple that with their electrifying, suffocating defense, Wichita State stopped the Tigers dead in their tracks, holding them to just 10 points in the first quarter.
The Tigers stepped up their play in the second quarter, and was able to regain some of the lost momentum, as they ended the quarter on a nice run to get them back into the game. Highlighted by a buzzer-beating layup by Michaelis — who snagged an impressive steal at half court, that brought them within one, 21-20.
That energy carried over, as a new Missouri team came out to play in the third quarter. With new life breathed into them, the Tigers dropped 11 points alone in just the first 2:30 of the third quarter — which is more than they scored in the first quarter alone. This impressive scoring barrage gave the Tigers their first lead of the game.
“Sometimes your shots aren’t falling, but we knew we needed to have poise,” Doty said. “A lot of times when teams are speeding you up you tend to speed up your open looks … we knew coming out of the gates we knew we needed to knock down open shots because that’s what we do.”
Missouri would continue to widen its scoring gap, as they went on to have an impressive 14-0 run, that resulted in an 11-point lead at the first media timeout.
And while the Shockers wouldn’t lay down, they just had no answer for the onslaught that continued to come from Missouri. The Tigers kept connecting shots, with Michaelis raking in back-to-back buckets, which allowed Missouri to maintain their lead and enter the fourth period up by nine.
However, the Shockers didn’t wilt, or for that matter, lie down. Wichita State gave Missouri a run for their money in the final stanza, cutting the deficit to a mere three, then two, then just one point in the first four minutes of the quarter. A clutch jumper by Wichita State’s top scorer, Rangie Bessard (19 points), made the score 50 all and it was anyone’s game.
Jordan Chavis immediately responded, with a three to put the Tigers back on top, and on track — she personally went on a tear, ending the game with 11 points in the final five minutes.
“We were defending and catching up,” said Wichita State coach Jody Adams-Birch. “And that’s where you’re spending a lot of energy, so that last five minutes we were pretty gassed.”
The Tigers will take on UT Martin Saturday, Dec. 11 at 11 a.m. at home.