Mizzou Uses Record 3-Point Effort to Top Auburn
COLUMBIA -- The Mizzou women's basketball team improved to 12-4 on the season and won its 11th straight home game to open the season as it defeated Auburn in its SEC home opener, 82-76, on Sunday afternoon at Mizzou Arena. A pair of school and SEC records fell on Sunday as Mizzou hit a school-record 18 three-pointers, led by a school-record 11 from sophomore Morgan Eye.
The 18 three-pointers made by the Tigers on Sunday are the most ever by an SEC school, shattering the previous best mark of 17 by Ole Miss. Additionally, Eye's 11 three-point buckets are also the most ever in an SEC league game and just one shy of the best-ever NCAA mark.
Sunday's win was all about Eye as she scored a career-high 33 points with her school-record 11 three-pointers. She also added four assists and two boards in the win. She led a Tiger offense that connected on 18-of-36 shots from deep. Freshman Maddie Stock added 11 points with three three-pointers while freshman point guard Lianna Doty hit two from deep to cap a well-rounded day for the frosh. In fact, Doty finished with 10 points, eight assist and two boards while connecting on 4-of-5 field goals. Liz Smith tallied 10 points as well and Bri Kulas scored all nine of her points in the second half.
The Tigers played great team basketball on Sunday with 24 assists on 29 field goals, led by the eight from Doty. Mizzou also out-rebounded Auburn, 37-28, in the win. Mizzou also had eight steals in the game, led by three from Doty who now has 37 on the season, which is two more than the Tigers' steal leader had all of last season (Christine Flores, 35).
Mizzou started slow as Auburn's defense forced two turnovers and limited Mizzou to 0-of-3 shooting as Auburn raced out to a 6-0 lead, forcing a timeout from Robin Pingeton at the 17:31 mark. Following the stoppage, Liene Priede nailed a three-pointer to get the Tigers on the board. That sparked a three-point barrage for the Tigers, who after missing their first two, made three of their next five to get back into the game. In fact, Mizzou pulled within one at 17-16 after a 3-pointer from Eye.
Auburn then reopened a three-point lead at the under-12 timeout. But Mizzou continued its three-point barrage as 15 of their first 19 field goal attempts were from distance, but Auburn took a 24-21 lead into the under-eight timeout. Mizzou turned up the pressure on defense after the break and eventually took the lead on a three-pointer from Eye at the 3:40 mark as the shot clock expired. It was Mizzou's first lead of the day at 28-26. From that point, Mizzou went on an 11-6 run to close the half, taking a 39-32 lead into the break. Doty nailed a three-pointer, the Tigers' 10th of the half, as time expired in the half.
Mizzou attempted 22 3-pointers in the first half, connecting on 10 of them. In fact, Mizzou made 14 field goals in the first half and 10 were from distance. Eye and Stock led Mizzou with 12 and 11 points, respectively, in the opening half as they were a key reason why Mizzou's bench outscored Auburn's, 27-7, in the first. Mizzou had 12 assists on 14 baskets in the first as well.
After their three-point barrage in the first, Mizzou began to get the ball down low to open the second half as Smith, Kulas and Syndey Crafton began to score as the offense remained very balanced as they extended their lead to 48-40 at the under-16 timeout. Kyley Simmons buried a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 10, but Auburn went on a 7-0 run after the Tigers got sloppy with the basketball against the Auburn press.
After the run, with the score at 50-47, Kulas got a huge offensive putback to reopen a five-point lead and then buried a three-pointer after an Auburn layup as she began to assert herself on the offensive end. An Auburn timeout followed as Mizzou led 55-51 and it was all Mizzou as an 8-0 run, which included two 3-pointers from Eye, put the game out of reach as Mizzou opened a 63-51 lead. Auburn closed the gap to just four late, but a layup on a great pass from Doty by Kulas iced the game.