Buffs Rally To Defeat Missouri In Overtime
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Call it 'Eight is Enough.'
Down by as much as 12 points in the second half, Colorado rallied to defeat Missouri 80-79 in overtime Tuesday evening at Mizzou Arena, putting an end to an eight-game losing streak.
Colorado pulls its overall record even at 13-13 and is 3-10 in Big 12 Conference play. Missouri drops its eighth straight, falling to 11-15, 1-12 in league contests.
Junior Brittany Spears had a team season-high 34 points, including a 3-pointer at the top of the key with 30 seconds remaining in regulation that tied the score at 74 and sent the game to overtime. Spears also nabbed 10 rebounds, recording her 22nd career double-double.
In overtime, Missouri took a 79-76 lead on a Shakara Jones layup with 1:56 remaining, but Spears countered with a drive to the basket, was fouled by RaeShara Brown, and hit the subsequent free throws that pulled the Buffaloes to 79-78 with 1:38 left.
After a Brown turnover, freshman Meagan Malcolm-Peck scored the game winner on a scooping layup in the paint with 55 seconds left. The teams swapped turnovers, giving the Tigers one last shot.
The Buffaloes defense held strong, as an 18-footer by Jones clanked off the rim with 2 seconds left. Alyssa Fressle grabbed the rebound and ran time out.
"Our chemistry is good and they are playing tough together," CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "Every huddle, the team became more and more cohesive in what we needed to do. They believed, even down 12, that we could win this game. They made stops when they needed to and made big shots down the stretch."
Bianca Smith tied a career high with 26 points, including six 3-pointers. She is just one 3-pointer from tying Shelley Sheetz's career mark of 252 set from 1991-95.
Fressle had 11 points and tied a career high with seven rebounds.
Colorado led for just 1:10 in this game, briefly at 6-5 early in the first half and then for the 55 seconds following Malcolm-Peck's go ahead basket.
Missouri led 61-49 with 10:55 left when the Buffaloes began their comeback. Malcolm-Peck and Fressle scored on back-to-back possessions to cut the Tiger lead to 61-53.
Amanda Hanneman drilled a 3-pointer to extend Missouri's lead back to double-digits at 66-55 with 7:38 remaining. But Smith answered with a 3-pointer of her own which sparked a 19-8 run that culminated with Spears trey to send the game to overtime.
Colorado held Missouri to just one point for five minute span after the Hanneman 3-pointer, yet the Tigers maintained their lead at the free-throw line. Missouri sank 29-of-35 free throws, compared to just 8-of-9 for the Buffaloes, but missed a critical one at the end.
Missouri guard Toy Richbow hit five straight free throws down the stretch, but missed the second of a two-shot trip that would have put the Tigers up by four with under a minute left. Instead, the Buffs trailed by just three allowing Spears to hit her tying basket.
The Tigers made just one field goal - a Brown jumper - over the final 7:38 of regulation.
Missouri dominated the boards 20-11 in the first half taking advantage of second chance points to, build a 37-22 lead. Jessra Johnson did the bulk of the damage with 10 points and had six rebounds in the first half alone.
Colorado stayed within reach by hitting 3-pointers at an impressive clip for the second straight game. Coming off a game in which the Buffaloes hit 15 3-pointers, CU added 14 against the Tigers, nine coming in the first half, and four of those from Spears whose fourth cut Missouri's lead to 43-36 at halftime.
Spears, who became the sixth player in team history to amass 1,400 points and 700 rebounds in a career, is averaging 26.3 points over the last four games while shooting 53 percent (39-of-73) from the field including a blistering 70 percent from downtown (16-of-23).
"She's had a stretch of challenges, but she has rededicated herself, getting in the gym and shooting shots," McConnell-Miller said. "Some tweaks in the offense have benefited her. She's playing free without fear of making mistakes. She knows her team needs her to score to be successful."
Brown had a career high 21 points for the Tigers. Johnson finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Colorado returns home to play Texas A&M on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 2 p.m. at the Coors Events/Conference Center.