COLUMBIA, Mo. - Tied at 56-all with five minutes left in the contest, Western Illinois women's basketball could not stop Missouri's late run and fell 70-61 on Thursday (Nov. 15) at Mizzou Arena.
The Leathernecks (1-2 overall) shot 44.2 percent from the field and 34.5 percent from beyond the arc compared to the Tigers 41.8 percent and 33.3 percent.
Missouri (3-0) started the game hot, scoring six points and forcing four turnovers before Saule Kontautaite could get the Leathernecks on the board with her first three of the ballgame. Western trailed for the entirety of the first half and went into the break down 31-26.
Michelle Maher brought Western within two when she hit a three in the second minute of the second half and the contest remained tight. A 3-pointer by Kontautaite followed by a Michele Salvatori jumper put the Leathernecks within one. Charnelle Reed then answered a Tiger trey with one of her own, and Rachel Evans hit a jumper on the next possession to give the Leathernecks its first lead of the contest with 14:30 left to play.
Three lead changes followed and three ties before the Tigers strung together the decisive 12-0 run to put the game out of reach.
"It really came down to a couple of possessions," head coach JD Gravina said. "They get that steal and layup, we all got frustrated and the next thing you know we take a couple bad shots. They hit a few threes and the ballgame is over. I think down the road, it gives us some confidence just knowing that we can play with good teams. Last year, we just got completely blown out by not only our BCS games but also in the Bradley and Eastern Illinois games. This year, I think we can keep our composure a little bit and defensively stay in games."
Reed paced Western offensively scoring 19 points, a careeer high, and was followed by Kontautaite who knocked down a season best four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points. Leading the squad in rebounds were Rachel Evans and Reed with six apiece. Salvatori and Rebecca Henricson tallied three assists.
The Leathernecks continue their road swing on Monday (Nov. 19) at SIU Edwardsville. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in Edwardsville, Ill.