Mizzou Falls to Vanderbilt in SEC Tournament
DULUTH, GA - Missouri Women's Basketball falls to 17-14 on the season after Thursday's 53-40 loss to Vanderbilt in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Liz Smith led the Tigers with 16 points on the night, and a three-pointer from Morgan Eye marked her 109th of the season. The number gives her sole ownership of the SEC single-season record, which was originally set at 108.
Vanderbilt took an early lead in the contest this evening, leading Missouri 7-2 at the first media timeout. Liz Smith had two points for the Tigers, and Vanderbilt had put up seven in a row when the game paused for a media timeout.
Kulas got things going for the Tigers out of the break, and Liz Smith followed to put Missouri within just one of Vanderbilt. It was 7-6 in the Commodores' favor, but Vanderbilt hit another bucket to pull away. Smith responded with another basket, but Vanderbilt returned the favor with a three-pointer. Lianna Doty made one more for the Tigers before the next break and the Tigers were within two. It was 12-10, Vanderbilt at the media timeout, and Bri Kulas brought Missouri within one point with a free throw after the break.
The two teams traded baskets, and a bucket by Smith finally put the Tigers in the lead. It was 15-14 in Missouri's favor with just under seven minutes in the half. The two teams battled it out for the next five minutes before Vanderbilt was able to find the basket and take the 16-15 lead. With less than two minutes to go, Smith hit a three pointer to put the Tigers back in the lead, and the Tigers went into the locker room with a 17-16 lead at halftime.
Out of the half, Liz Smith put the Tigers up 19-16 over the Commodores, and a Vanderbilt free throw added one to their tally. Kulas extended Missouri's lead to four with a jumper out of the under-16 media timeout, and Smith followed up with a layup. Vanderbilt hit a trey, but Morgan Eye answered with one of her own. The three-pointer happened to be her 109th of the season, putting her atop the SEC's season three-pointers list.
After a Vanderbilt timeout, the Dores took a 27-26 lead over the Tigers. Vanderbilt continued to pressure Missouri, leading 35-26. Missouri took a timeout with 7:50 on the clock, and following a few Vanderbilt free throws, Liene Priede sunk a major three-pointer to give Missouri more momentum. Morgan Stock made a layup for the Tigers, but the aggressive Dores answered right away with one of their own.
At the final media timeout of the day, Missouri was trailing Vanderbilt by 10 (41-31). Smith hit two free throws after the pause to bring the Tigers closer. Vanderbilt made two of their own from the charity stripe, but Priede negated those with a bucket as well. Priede added another basket to her tally before a Mizzou timeout.
The Tigers battled on the court, but could not contain the Dores. After several trips to the free throw line, Vanderbilt came out with a win.
The Tigers will return to Columbia optimistic for postseason berth.