Eye’s hot shooting leads Mizzou women to fourth straight victory

Photo by Kaysie Moore
Story by Darren Hellwege

 

Morgan Eye scored 19, the third game in a row she’s scored at least that many, as the Missouri Tigers won their fourth in a row, beating Arkansas-Pine Bluff 97-59 at Mizzou Arena Saturday evening. The win runs the Tigers’ record to 8-2 leading into a break for final exams at the University of Missouri.

“We had a really solid second half,” Tiger coach Robin Pingeton said after the win. “A lot of kids knocked down shots.” She also praised her team’s unselfishness, and the stat sheet showed why — four players scored in double figures: Eye, Bri Kulas with 18 points, Maddie Stock with 17 and Sydney Crafton with 11.

It was a close game in the early going, with Missouri turning the ball over six times in as many minutes. The Golden Lions actually had a small lead at one point, but Eye’s long-range shooting helped break it open.


She gave Missouri a 20-17 lead with a 3-pointer that was taken several steps behind the line, one of three she would hit from beyond the arc in the first half. Eye’s basket helped spark a Tiger rally and by halftime the game was well in hand with the Tigers up 41-24 on UAPB, a historically Black college out of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

The Golden Lions fell to 2-4 on the year with the loss.

Eye’s points came, as usual, largely from 3-pointers. She finished the game shooting 4 of 8 from distance, and overall Missouri hit 14 of its 33 3-point shots.

It was a big night for other Missouri freshman as well, with Morgan Stock, Michelle Hudyn and Darian Saunders each having career-high performances. Stock and Hudyn contributed six points for the Tigers, while Missouri’s forward Saunders added eight points and five rebounds.

Asked about her greatest concerns as the team prepares for their first season in the Southeastern Conference, Pingeton pointed to turnovers.

“We gotta do a better job of taking care of the ball.” Missouri finished the game Saturday with 18 turnovers, and have averaged about 15 a game.

A lot of praise after the game went to Kulas, who has rather quietly averaged 12.5 points per game for the Tigers while leading the team in minutes played and rebounds. But while Kulas has become known for being rather quiet with the press, Eye said that when it counts, she has plenty to add to the conversation.

“She’s just a great leader. (In team huddles) she has a lot of great things to say.”

Kulas is new to the Tigers this season, having transferred from Johnson County Community College (Kansas) and played at Kansas State her freshman year.

“She understands what we’re trying to build here,” Pingeton said of the junior forward.

Kulas isn’t the only Johnson County product contributing to Missouri these days. Senior Liz Smith, who transferred from Johnson County Community College prior to the 2011-2012 season, had nine rebounds for Missouri, the second game in a row in which she had that many.

After Saturday night’s loss, the Golden Lions fell to 2-4. Arkansas-Pine Bluff guard Christina Lasane led the Golden Lions with 19 points.

The Tigers get the week off from games for finals, returning to action on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. against Southern Illinois.

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