Tigers Earn Exhibition Win Over Lincoln
COLUMBIA -- Senior guard Sydney Crafton led the way for the new-look Missouri Tigers with a career-high 28 points as Mizzou won its first exhibition contest of the year with a convincing 75-50 win over the Lincoln Blue Tigers. Crafton, who started the game by making her first 10 field goals, finished 11-for-12 from the field. The win over Lincoln made head coach Robin Pingeton a perfect 3-0 in the opening contests of each season since her arrival at Missouri.
Mizzou took control of the game early, with Crafton getting two transition layups off of good defensive possessions. Lincoln registered its first point of the game on a free throw at the 17:21 mark in the first half, then made a moving jumper on its next trip down the floor to cut the Tiger lead to 4-3. Bri Kulas then notched her first points at Mizzou by hitting a pair of free throws, giving the Tigers a three-point advantage at the under-16 timeout.
The Blue Tigers scored first after the break, again cutting the Missouri lead to one, and a free throw tied the game at six. Lianna Doty broke the tie with a layup, putting Mizzou back in charge with a two-point advantage at the under-12 timeout. Lincoln connected on one of two free throws after the break, but four straight Tiger points, including Darian Saunders' first as a Tiger, put Mizzou up 12-7. The Blue Tigers then sunk two free throws to cut the Mizzou lead to three, but Crafton scored four straight points to get Mizzou some separation, a 16-9 lead at the under-8 timeout.
Again it was Lincoln getting a quick start after the stoppage in play, this time with a 7-0 run to tie the game. The Tigers responded with a 10-0 run, with two points from both Liz Smith and Liene Pride to go with six from Crafton. Two free throws from Lincoln ended the run, but Crafton nailed a three pointer to boost Mizzou to their largest lead of the first half, 29-18. Four straight points for Lincoln in the final minute ended the first half with the Tigers leading, 29-22.
Mizzou started the second half quickly, running out to a 7-0 run and a 14-point lead, led by Priede's five quick points to open play in the second frame. Lincoln finally ended the run with a layup, but Kyley Simmons answered with her first point of the game, splitting a pair of free throws for a 37-24 lead before Lincoln answered with an 8-0 run to cut the lead back to five.
Saunders put an end to the run by the Blue Tigers with a layup, and the full-court press by the Missouri defense cashed in on a turnover by Lincoln on the ensuing possession when Crafton made a layup and sunk the free throw that followed, putting Mizzou up 42-32. Maddie Stock's first points as a Tiger came on a three-pointer from the top of the arc, putting Mizzou up 45-32 at the under-12 timeout.
The teams traded buckets when play resumed, but Crafton's jumper put the Tigers up 13 before Lincoln hit two free throws, which were quickly answered by Priede hitting two jumpers and Crafton converting a layup off a Blue Tiger turnover for a 57-40 lead, their largest lead of the contest. Crafton made another layup to put the Tigers up 19, but that was quickly matched by the Blue Tigers.
The teams then matched scores, with Lincoln cutting the Mizzou lead to as low as 15 at the 3:32 mark. Morgan Eye got on the board for the first time with two free throws, putting the Tigers back up 17. Doty added two more buckets in the final two minutes, and Stock scored a layup and hit a three to give Mizzou the final 75-50 lead.