Brian Consiglio, 23 sports

Monday, March 21—

The Missouri women’s basketball team (22-10) lost 73-55 to the Texas Longhorns (30-4) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Monday night. The 10th seeded Tigers traveled to Austin, Texas where the 2nd seeded Longhorns dominated on their home court.

SEC freshman of the year Sophie Cunningham led the Tigers with 23 points, six rebounds and four assists. Unfortunately, she did not get much help from her teammates as Missouri shot 31.4 percent from the field and missed a whopping 20 three pointers.

The Tigers did however start the game well, as Cunningham nailed two three pointers in the opening minutes for the early 6-0 lead. But Texas responded with a 10-0 run of its own to take the lead—one it would not relinquish the rest of the game.

Offensively as the game wore on, the Tigers did not take care of the basketball, and their 18 turnovers resulted into many easy layups in transition for Texas. On the defensive end, the Tigers gave up 21 offensive rebounds resulting in multiple second chance points.

Eighteen of Missouri’s 22 field goals against BYU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament were in the paint, but it was a different story Monday against a much bigger Texas team. The Longhorns had 22 points in the paint in the first half, while Mizzou had zero.

Texas led Missouri 36-21 at the half. The second half was where Texas really extended its lead with a combination of threes and offensive rebounding. The star of the show for the home team was point guard Ariel Atkins, who finished with 22 points, seven rebounds—five of which were offensive boards—and three steals.

Despite the dreadful end to the season, the Missouri women’s basketball program has a lot to be proud of. The team made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 15 years and won 20 games overall for the first time in 20 years. With the SEC freshman of the year returning as a sophomore next year, this young Tigers team will look to build off a historically successful season.

Photo courtesy of www.columbiamissourian.com.