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Missouri women can't complete season sweep against Alabama

 Rory Whetstone   in Basketball

Photo courtesy of Mitchell Scaglione/Mizzou Athletics

Alabama (17-6, 6-4 Southeastern Conference) had dominant performances from Brittany Davis (33 points) and Hannah Barber (13 points, 50% from 3PT) as they took down Missouri (15-9, 4-7 Southeastern Conference) by a score of 76-69 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo., on Sunday afternoon. 

Missouri was led by Hayley Frank (26 points) and Ashton Judd (13 points), but they were unable to dig up a win for the Tigers. Defensively, it was a struggle. Missouri turned the ball over 16 times and allowed Alabama to score 20 points off those turnovers. Also, Alabama was able to capitalize on extra opportunities, grabbing nine second-chance points.

These two conference foes last faced off in January with Missouri pulling away with a gritty 66-65 win. However, the Tigers weren’t able to replicate that the second time around. 

Alabama’s Impressive Second Half

On the road, Alabama averages 71.8 points per game, but the Crimson Tide was held to just 27 points in the first half. Entering the game, Missouri held opponents to 61.5 points per game when the game is played at Mizzou Arena. However, Alabama defied the odds and produced a burst of offense in the second half. 

Additionally, entering the game, the Tigers were 12-1 when leading at the end of the half. This didn’t faze Alabama as they put up 49 points in the final 20 minutes, leading to Missouri’s second loss of the season after being up at the half. The Tigers couldn’t stay strong on defense and it was costly. 

Alabama started the second half on a hot streak going on a 9-0 run. Ultimately, the Tide would score 24 points in the third quarter and add another 25 in the fourth.

At the end of the third quarter, Alabama led 51-47, which continued the theme of Missouri being unable to create a fourth-quarter comeback this season.

The Tigers are now 0-9 when trailing after the third quarter.

To Be Frank

Missouri’s main source of offense came from Frank. Her 26 points mark the first time in her career that she has had three-consecutive 20-point games.

She also moved into 11th place on the program’s all-time scoring list (1,458 points) to surpass Jordan Frericks (2013-2018). Frank reached this achievement at the 7:04 mark of the first quarter on a pair of free throws. 

Even though the game didn’t end in their favor, Missouri still had a strong offensive performance. While Frank led the team, she was able to get support from Troup and Judd. Judd tied her season high of 12 points, shooting 100% from the field. Troup was able to help her team by shooting 100% from 3-point land. 

Another impressive stat Missouri posted was going 7 of 13 from 3-point range, with 53.8% being the team's best percentage this season. The Tigers rank third in the SEC in 3-point efficiency at 34.9%. 

However, it was the empty possessions that got to Missouri in this game. The Tigers went 3 of 12 from the field in the second quarter and ended the game with a 44.9 field goal percentage. 

Davis Leads the Crimson Tide

Davis came into the game averaging 17.3 points per game, and she nearly doubled that with an impressive 33 points. Davis last reached 30 points when she scored 32 against Vanderbilt in February of 2022. 

Missouri paid the price for its inability to defend Davis, and even Coach Robin Pingeton made it clear that the Tigers couldn't find the right formula for success.

“We tried to keep her in front and make her play on top of us," Pingeton said. "She’s pretty crafty. We obviously didn’t have an answer for her tonight."

In the Future

Missouri is on a bye week with their next game not until February 12th against Arkansas at Bud Walton Arena. 

The Tigers will look to change their momentum as they are 1-7 in their last eight games and will need a strong finish to enter the NCAA tournament conversation. 

Pingeton was asked about the team's rough patch and reiterated her confidence in their ability to turn things around.

“I know what's in that locker room," she said. "I believe in these girls. I love being in the trenches with them and we’re going to figure it out."