Mizzou Women Start Cancun Challenge with Win
CANCUN, MEXICO -- Missouri Women's Basketball (4-0) started off the Cancun Challenge on the right foot, earning a 49-44 victory over Wichita State (2-2) on Wednesday. Senior Sydney Crafton led the Tigers with 14 points on the game, marking her third double figure scoring game this season. Crafton finished 4-for-5 from the field, and she made 5-of-6 shots from the free throw line.
Scoring in the game started right off the bat, with a jumper from Wichita State in the first few seconds of play, but Bri Kulas quickly responded with a basket of her own, marking the beginning of a 6-0 run for the Tigers. A huge block by Sydney Crafton led the teams into the under-16 media timeout, and, despite the team's fast start, Mizzou kept the Shockers from finding the net until the 14-minute mark on the clock.
Leading the scoring for Mizzou in the first half, Liz Smith hit a jumper with 11:24 on the clock, forcing Wichita State to take a timeout and giving Mizzou a 10-9 lead.
With 10:35 left in the half, WSU's Jazmien Gordon made a layup to give the Shockers a brief lead in the game, but Crafton sunk two free throws to put Mizzou back on top. Morgan Eye then hit a clutch three-pointer helping the Tigers to a 15-11 lead just before the under-8 media timeout.
With just under two minutes to play in the first half, the Tigers pulled away thanks to a three-pointer from Crafton and a layup from Kulas. Wichita State answered with a layup in the last minute making it 20-15 in Mizzou's favor. Kulas was fouled with 22 seconds left, and sunk both from the charity stripe. The Tigers went into the locker room at the half with a 22-15 lead over Wichita State.
Crafton started off the scoring in the second half for Mizzou, sinking a free throw and following it up with a layup for the Tigers. The score was answered by a Wichita State three-pointer, but MU still led 25-18 at the under-16 timeout.
With 15:11 left on the clock, Bri Kulas hit a key three-pointer to negate an earlier jump shot from Wichita State, keeping the Tigers ahead 28-20. After two free throws from Lianna Doty the Tigers continued to lead 30-23.
After a Wichita State timeout, a wide-open Maddie Stock added a trey, giving Mizzou a 10-point lead, their largest of the game. Crafton added a layup, putting Mizzou up 35-23. With just under 10 minutes left in the game, Crafton hit another fastbreak layup followed almost immediately by another three from Maddie Stock.
Wichita State put a few points on the board, but an and-one from Doty with 6:40 on the clock held on to the lead for Missouri, putting the Tigers up 43-30.
With just over two minutes in the game, the Shockers added a free throw and a layup to creep up on the Tigers' lead, 44-37, but Crafton kept the Tigers afloat, making two from the charity stripe.
Missouri held on to its 46-41 lead through the last minute of the game, but a foul on Liene Priede gave WSU's Alex Harden two free throws with just 13 seconds left. Harden made one of her shots, and Kyley Simmons was fouled a few seconds later. Simmons added a free throw giving Mizzou the 47-42 lead, but WSU broke away and recorded another layup. Eye hit two free throws after the game's final foul, helping the Tigers to their first win of the Cancun Challenge.
Missouri will hit the hardwood again Friday at 5 p.m. against the Green Bay Phoenix.