Missouri women advance past South Florida in NCAA opener
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - No. 6-seed Mizzou women's basketball narrowly escaped an upset bid from No. 11-seed South Florida in the first round of the NCAA women's tournament, 66-64.
The game was tied at 64 when SEC Co-Freshman of the Year Amber Smith received the inbound pass with four seconds remaining. Smith shot an air ball, but senior Sierra Michaelis was there for an offensive rebound and made her put back attempt to give the Tigers the edge with under a second left. The Bulls couldn't get off a shot.
Michaelis finished as Mizzou's leading scorer with 16 points while also contributing nine rebounds. First-team All-SEC performer Sophie Cunningham pitched in 12 points, and sophomore Cierra Porter earned her sixth double-double of the season in the winning effort.
South Florida got off to a strong start, outscoring Mizzou in both the first and second quarters, taking a 13-point lead into the half.
The Tigers responded in the second half, holding the Bulls to eight points in the third quarter. Mizzou cut the deficit to three points entering the fourth.
Mizzou took a 3-point advantage following a Lindsey Cunningham free throw, but the Bulls responded with a three from Kitija Laksa to tie it before the Michaelis game winner.
This is the second consecutive year Mizzou has made the round of 32. Last season, the Tigers fell to No. 2-seed Texas.
Mizzou will look forward to the winner of Florida State and Western Illinois. Tip off is slated for Sunday.