If you missed Friday night’s women’s game between Missouri and South Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, well, you probably have a few more years on your life left than I do. In typical fashion for the year in road games, the Tigers struggled to keep consistent on their shooting. Turnovers and South Florida’s defense caused them issues as well.
After the game we learned that starter Lianna Doty had been feeling sick, which explained both Amber Smith’s starting spot and Doty’s absence for much of the game. Hopefully she got the rest she needed Saturday because her absence is definitely noted on the court.
I’m not going to recap the whole game, because a brief summary will do justice for here. Mizzou came out strong, and then, as they’ve done in road games, the Tigers just seemed to fall apart. (For those that haven’t kept up with the women’s team, they have a 7-9 record on games that are played away from Mizzou Arena. At Mizzou Arena, their record is 15-1.) The second quarter didn’t go much better. At one point, I had to restart WatchESPN, because it is what it is, and when I turned it back on, South Florida had gone up 15 points since my malfunction.
At half time, Mizzou trailed 38-25, and it was beginning to look like the SEC tournament game against Texas A&M. But Sierra Michaelis got hot, and the Tigers came back and won in dramatic fashion.
Also a help to the Tigers: the Bulls went from making six 3-pointers in the first half to missing their first eight of the second. The Bulls also only made 2 out of 15 on field goals in the third quarter. As a result, Mizzou outscored USF 18-8. The fourth quarter saw a bit of a surge for the Bulls, with back and forth action once the Tigers had caught up. But the Tigers scored the final basket of the game when Amber Smith took the in-bound pass and Michaelis scored the lay-up. Here it is in the most dramatic possible fashion:
BUZZER BEATER!!!— Titanic Hoops (@TitanicHoops) March 18, 2017
1ST ROUND OF THE WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT. MISSOURI WINS ON A BUZZER BEATER!!! IT'S MUCH BETTER WITH TITANIC MUSIC!!! pic.twitter.com/Se1JAArNm2
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the effect that Cierra Porter had. Before she fouled out, she recorded her 11th double-double of the season. Along with Michaelis and Smith, Porter helped in the surge during the third and fourth quarter.
For a blip from post-media coverage:
As was the case last year, Mizzou moves on to the second round of the tournament. This is the first time Missouri women’s basketball has advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament in back-to-back years.
Luckily, the Tigers don’t face UConn right away. Still, next up is Florida State on its own turf. FSU beat its first-round competition by a pretty comfortable margin.
The Seminoles are 26-6 on the season and finished second in the ACC. The notable games they’ve had against top 25 teams are (with the rank at the time they played):
- No. 3 UConn, 78-76 L
- No. 25 Gonzaga, 87-69 W
- No. 23 Florida, 83-58 W
- No. 11 Miami, 81-66 W
- No. 13 Duke, 69-45 W
- No. 9 Louisville, 72-65 W
- No. 17 Virginia Tech, 82-54 W
- No. 16 Miami, 80-71 W
- No. 8 Texas, 92-88 L
- No. 5 Notre Dame, 79-61 L
- No. 16 Miami, 56-54 L
The Seminoles are 7-4 against top 25 teams. Mizzou, by comparison, is 3-4, and the three wins came at Mizzou Arena.
It will be interesting to see if the Tigers can keep the energy from the second half going, while ignoring the home court advantage the Seminoles will have with a large fan base. If the Tigers lose this game, it means the final game for seniors Lindsey Cunningham, Michaelis and Doty.
To read more in depth articles on Friday’s game:
- Columbia Tribune, Joe Vozzelli
- Columbia Missourian, Rick Morgan
- Kansas City Star, Tod Palmer
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jordan Culver
- ESPN, Joe Reedy
To watch tonight’s game:
And because I found it entertaining and random: