Missouri’s 3-point barrage knocks Wildcats out of WNIT

Senior guard Haley Texada flies around West Virginia junior guard Bria Holmes on Mar. 3, 2015 at Bramlage Coliseum. Texada snatched three steals in the game against West Virginia. (Rodney Dimick | The Collegian)

It’s been four seasons since Missouri and K-State faced one another. Sunday, in the second round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament at Bramlage Coliseum, Missouri made up for lost time.

The Tigers did so from beyond the arc. Not once. Not twice. But 16 times to win 67-48 and bounce K-State out of the WNIT.

“We watched a lot of film, and I think they’re 90 percent zone,” Missouri head coach Robin Pingeton said after the game. “We felt like we were gonna get open looks, but you still have to be able to knock them down. We just had kids that were knocking down good looks today.”

The 16 3-pointers were a Bramlage Coliseum record for an opposing team. Leading the charge from deep for the Tigers was Morgan Eye who had 27 points, all from beyond the arc. As a team, the Tigers shot 43.2 percent from 3-point range as they move on to the next round in the WNIT.

“I don’t know if there is another kid in the country who’s shot the amount of shots (Eye’s) shot outside of practice,” Pingeton said. “It’s been a little bit of a struggle in conference play, the way teams guard her, but I couldn’t be happier for her.”

From the onset, K-State’s 2-3 zone had no answers for the amount of threes that Missouri put up. The Tigers kept the Wildcats at bay for most of the first half with clutch threes from Eye, along with Jordan Frericks and Sierra Michaelis.

It was a total team effort by the Wildcats to keep pace with the Tigers. K-State was without senior Ashia Woods due to an injury suffered late in its first-round WNIT game against Akron earlier in the week.

After struggling to grab the lead, the Wildcats finally got over the hump and went ahead of the Tigers with a Bri Craig 3-pointer with 1:57 left in the first half. After Missouri’s eighth made 3-pointer of the half, senior guard Haley Texada tied the game at 35 with a short jumper as time expired in the first half.

“Coming back out it’s zero-zero. The game is either one of ours,” Texada said. “It just depends on who wants it more. That is what I felt going into half.”

The start of the second half was more of the same for the both teams as the Tigers grabbed a quick lead with their ninth 3-pointer of the ballgame.

After a Kindred Wesemann free throw, the Wildcats enjoyed their last lead of the ballgame. Missouri proceeded to hit five of its next six baskets from beyond the arc, part of a 27-3 run to put K-State away for good.

“We could not stop them,” K-State head coach Jeff Mittie said. “They went on a 3-point barrage, and then I thought that we tried to get it all back at once. We were trying to hard at that point to make things happen. It just snowballed on us,”

The loss ends the Wildcats’ season with a 19-14 record.