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Mizzou WBB loses shootout to Saint Louis 93-85

It was a tough defensive outing for the Tigers, who were dealt their first defeat of the season by the scrappy Billikens

Quentin Corpuel/Rock M Nation

For most of Sunday afternoon, Chaifetz Arena was loud. While quiet at the start, the blare of the Billiken faithful persisted throughout the game, just like the team they were cheering on. SLU never backed down and never went away, and as a result, the Billikens walked away with a 93-85 victory. It was a far different SLU squad than the one that lost by 30 at Mizzou Arena last season.

“They’re just relentless,” head coach Robin Pingeton said after the game.

Mizzou came out of the gates hot on offense. Per usual, Mama Dembele was the lead facilitator, and she ended the quarter with four assists. Whether it was on the fast break or in the half court, Dembele was consistently finding open teammates. Grace Slaughter also looked comfortable on offense, finishing the quarter with seven points.

However, SLU also found success on offense, particularly in the painted area. The Billikens were able to generate mismatches as well as open layups off of backdoor cuts. As Mizzou began to cool off, SLU started to heat up. Mizzou led 22-18 after one.

The second quarter was a back-and-forth offensive battle. SLU started finding a groove from both inside and beyond the arc, as Mizzou’s 3-2 zone defense was getting exploited, especially on off-ball screens.

“One of the things we really pride ourselves on is connectivity, and defensively, there were just too many that we weren’t connected on the level that we needed to be,” Pingeton said.

On the other end, Dembele attacked the basket relentlessly and registered seven points in the quarter. However, SLU led 43-39 at halftime.

The Tigers took back control on both ends of the floor at the start of the second half. Mizzou switched back to man defense, and a lot of the rhythm SLU established on offense evaporated. On the other end, the Tigers got out in transition early and found great success, and anytime SLU would score, Mizzou would answer. The road team opened the second half on a 17-7 run.

The Tigers also closed the quarter with momentum in large thanks to Slaughter. After driving baseline and finishing through a litany of blue jerseys, Slaughter canned a fast break triple to put Mizzou up by seven entering the final period.

Early in the quarter, the Tigers held control. A pair of threes from Abby Feit kept Mizzou’s lead comfortable.

Then, the game flipped upside down.

SLU went on a 7-0 run, and after both teams went back-and-forth, the Billikens went on another 7-0 run to take the lead with under three minutes to go.

From there, SLU rode the wave of momentum all the way to the finish. As the road team went cold, the home team got hot. From Between the 3:42 and 0:26 mark in the final quarter, the Tigers shot 0/6 from the field, while SLU made seven of their last eight field goal attempts as well as a boatload of free throws. Mizzou kept trying to create open looks from downtown, but nothing was working. On the other end of the court, everything seemed to be working for SLU.

All in all, the home team closed the game on a 16-1 run to hand Mizzou their first defeat of the season.

Slaughter and Judd each finished with 21 points. Dembele finished with a career-high 14 assists and led the team in rebounds with eight, but turned the ball over six times.

The Billikens had three 20+ points scorers; the difference, however, came at the free throw line. Three Tigers fouled out, and Hayley Frank finished the game with four fouls. Mizzou shot 5/7 from the line, while SLU shot 20 free throws in the fourth quarter alone, making 16 of them.

“I thought {the Billikens} were the aggressors offensively,” Pingeton said. “They cut hard, they were physical...they just really attack the paint. Every time they did, it seemed like we put them at the free throw line.”

However, Pingeton restated that the season is still long and that her squad will hopefully learn from the defeat.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Pingeton said.

The Tigers will return home on Tuesday to take on North Alabama (1-1) at 7 PM.