Colorado Can’t Overcome Cold Shooting In Road Loss

COLUMBIA, Mo.  – Colorado’s cold second-half shooting allowed Missouri to erase a 15-point second half deficit and edge out a 53-50 win over the Buffaloes Friday night at Mizzou Arena.

Lexy Kresl led all players with 17 points, tying a season high with five 3-point field goals. Jen Reese had a game-high 11 rebounds, but was limited to six points on 3-of-9 shooting.

Colorado (6-3), which led 36-21 in the opening minute of the second half, shot just 18 percent from that point forward, including a 7-minute, 24-second scoreless span that allowed Missouri (7-2) to embark on a 19-4 run to even out the game at 40-40 with 10:06 remaining.

“We weren’t ready coming out of the half,” Colorado head coach Linda Lappe said. “We came out and hit a 3-pointer and we needed to squash (Missouri’s energy) right there, but we let them back in. We didn’t play inspired enough and that’s not going to win you games on the road against the SEC.”

Despite the frigid shooting effort, Colorado still had its chances late.

The Buffaloes regrouped to take a 50-46 lead on a pair of Zoe Beard-Fails free-throws, but Missouri responded with a Juanita Robinson 3-pointer at the 2:03 mark cut the CU lead to 50-49.

That proved to be the last field goal for either team. Missouri managed four free throws on three different trips that provided the final margin. In that span Colorado went 0-for-3 from the field and Reese missed the front end of a one-and-one with 24 seconds left that could have tied the game.

Bree Fowler picked up the rebound on the Reese miss and was fouled with 8.3 seconds. She made 1-of-2, giving the Buffaloes one last chance. After Missouri knocked the ball out of bounds on the initial push, Kresl was able to heave a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer that fell wide of the rim.

“(Missouri) came out stronger and ready to go,” Kresl said. “They had way more energy and we noticed it immediately.”

Beard-Fails had eight points, three rebounds and a pair of steals.

The Buffaloes played arguably their best defensive half of the season in the game’s first 20 minutes which allowed them to establish a double-digit lead.

After an initial onslaught of Missouri 3-pointers – five of the Tigers’ first six field goals were from long range -  Colorado clamped down on the home team’s shooters.

Morgan Eye hit Missouri’s fifth 3-pointer in that early span for a 17-16 Tigers’ edge. On that play, away from the ball Lauren Huggins was called for a foul, allowing the Tigers another possession. They ended up with two, after an offensive rebound, but the Buffaloes stood tall with a pair of stops and that was just the beginning.

Beard-Fails gave Colorado the lead back with a bucket and Jasmine Sborov hit a pair of free throws for a 20-17 lead.

Haley Smith continued the run, scoring easily after gathering in an offensive board. Following a Bri Watts free throw, Jamee Swan stole the ball and went coast-to-coast for a layup as the Buffs built a 28-19 advantage.

Huggins capped off the 17-4 run with a 3-pointer. She was the ninth Colorado player to score in the first half alone as the Buffaloes led 31-19. Missouri was held scoreless after Eye’s 3-pointer, for 6:19 until Bri Porter ended the drought with under a minute left.

Kayla McDowell and Jordan Frericks led Missouri with 10 points each.

Colorado will take an eight-day break for finals and return to action on Sunday, Dec. 21, by hosting Wyoming at 2 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.

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