Minnesota Downs Lady Tigers in Final Minutes

Sunday, Nov. 25-

All the fun in the sun concluded with a tough ending as the Missouri women’s basketball team came up short, losing to the Minnesota Gophers 59-54 in its final game of the Cancun Challenge.

It was a contest the Tigers wished they could have back as they led the entire game only to give up the lead with a minute left. Mizzou freshman Lianna Doty had a career day as she put up 16 points.

The Tigers came out of the gates running as Doty drained a three-pointer, giving them a 7-0 lead. With Mizzou trying to keep up the pace, the Gophers were able to stave off the early nerves as they made three consecutive shots to shift the score to 19-17. Sydney Crafton stopped the Gopher rally as she made a three of her own helping Mizzou pull away.

The Gophers were not going to go down without a fight as Rachel Banham made back-to-back shots, brining Minnesota within one. The Tigers kept up the trend of converting from behind the arc as Morgan Eye sunk one to put Mizzou up 25-21. Doty then followed Eye with another long ball with two minutes left in the half to maintain the Tiger lead.

Missouri went into the locker room with a 28-23 lead, and came out with the same mentality in the second half as Doty once again connected from deep giving the Tigers an eight point lead. The Gophers and Tigers went back and forth, answering shots as Minnesota tried to dwindle the Mizzou lead.

The game was tied at 34 with 11:34 left as Minnesota’s Loberg swished two from the free-throw line. The Gophers were not done there as they quickly answered the charity stripe buckets with a layup giving them their first lead of the day. Crafton answered right back as she made four straight points putting the Tigers back up 38-36.

Both squads continued to try to pull away from each other, but when the eight-minute media timeout came, the score was knotted up at 43-43. Mizzou’s Bri Kulas was able to knock down another big bucket as she gave the Tigers a 47-45 lead, but only for a moment.

With three minutes left in the contest, the Tigers still hung onto a 51-49 lead. Liene Priede attempted two free throws and made both. The Tigers saw the victory in their sights, but the Gophers turned on the burners tying the game at 53-53 and eventually taking the lead. Minnesota ended any hopes of a late comeback with a couple more free throws.

Mizzou finished the Cancun Challenge with a 1-2 record and will continue its season as they host Southeast Missouri on Nov. 29.

-Justin Frisch
23 Sports
Staff Writer