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Tigers Tackle Top-10 Tennessee, 80-63

MUTIGERS.COM Morgan Eye led the Tigers with 26 points in the win
MUTIGERS.COM
Morgan Eye led the Tigers with 26 points in the win
MUTIGERS.COM

Feb. 3, 2013

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Behind a strong second half push, the Missouri Tigers (15-8, 4-5) ran past No. 9/10 Tennessee (17-5), 80-63, on Sunday (Feb. 3) afternoon at Mizzou Arena. The game was tightly contested through the first 30 minutes, featuring 11 lead changes before the Tigers ran away for the 17-point victory.

The win was the program's first against a top-10 opponent since Jan. 23, 2010, when the Tigers upset then-No. 10 Baylor.

Before a season-best crowd of 4,181, Mizzou turned in an impressive performance in taking down one of the nation's premier women's hoops programs. Bri Kulas and Morgan Eye shined in the contest, registering 20 and 26 points, respectively. The hot-shooting Tigers also got a solid contribution from Liz Smith, who tallied 10 points in the contest. As a team, Missouri shot 52.7 percent from the field, 45.8 percent from behind the arc, and 84.6 percent from the free throw line. In addition to the hot shooting, the Tigers won the assist battle 23-6 and bench scoring 34-3.

Kulas came out hot, making her first two shots to match the Lady Vols' early surge to keep the game tied at four, and Liene Priede's three-pointer gave Mizzou its first lead at 7-6 after the first four minutes of the contest. Kulas's layup followed by a Lianna Doty's three, sandwiched around a UT bucket, built the lead to 12-8, but a Vol three made it 12-11 at the second media timeout.

A technical foul call gave Tennessee two points and the lead at 13-12, and the teams would trade the lead on the next few possessions, with Liz Smith nailing two shots in the process. Following a Lady Vol timeout, Tennessee regained the lead before Doty picked up her third foul of the half at the 9:10 mark, forcing her to sit the remainder of the opening set. Eye made up for the loss of Doty by scoring eight straight points, giving Mizzou a 24-21 lead, but UT answered with back-to-back threes to retake a 27-24 advantage.

The Lady Vols added to their lead with a layup, but Kulas nailed a three from the corner to cut the deficit to two at the under-4 media timeout. Eye made her third shot from bonus distance to reduce a four-point Tennessee lead to just one, and Priede's floater kept Mizzou within one after a UT bucket. The Lady Vols added one more score before the half, clinging to a 37-34 lead at the recess.

Kyley Simmons nailed a three to open the second frame, tying the contest at 37. Smith then broke a run of four straight Tennessee points to make the score 41-39, and Priede's trey gave the Tigers a 42-41 lead. Eye's five straight points for Mizzou kept the home team in front, 47-45, stemming a Tennessee surge. Kulas's transition "and-one" layup gave the Tigers a five-point advantage, and another Eye three pushed Mizzou ahead, 53-46. The lead grew to eight with a Smith layup with 9:40 remaining in the game. Eye pushed Missouri's lead to 11 with a three and Tennessee was not able to recover.

Mizzou has the week off and next takes on Mississippi State on Sunday (Feb. 10) at Mizzou Arena at 1 p.m. For all the latest on Mizzou women's hoops, follow the team on Twitter (@MissouriWBB) or check in to MUTigers.com.