Feb. 18, 2009
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Staff Gallery - Brownfield
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Junior Jessra Johnson narrowly missed a double-double with 17 points, nine rebounds and a career high six blocks as the University of Missouri women's basketball team upset No. 14 Kansas State 52-43 at Mizzou Arena on Wednesday night. The win, Mizzou's first over a ranked team since March 11, 2008, improves the Tigers' record to 12-12 overall and 3-8 in Big 12 Conference play. The Wildcats fall to 20-4 and 7-4.
"We wanted to get up in their grill a little bit more," Head Coach Cindy Stein said. "We wanted better pressure on the ball, and we wanted to bump cuts. I thought our defense was really, really good."
The Tigers recorded a season high 11 blocks and held the Wildcats to 30.8 percent shooting from the floor, their lowest average of the season.
Joining Johnson in double figures were senior Alyssa Hollins, who had 13 points, and sophomore Shakara Jones, who added 12.
Kansas State jumped out to an early lead but Mizzou closed its deficit to four, 12-8, with 15:22 remaining in the first. After Jalana Childs hit a jumper for a 16-10 Wildcat advantage, Mizzou responded with a seven consecutive points from Jones to take their first lead of the game, 17-16, at the 5:19 mark.
The visitors momentarily regained the lead on two free throws from Kelsey Nelson but on the Tigers' next possession Hollins found Johnson for a layup for a 19-18 Mizzou advantage with 4:41 on the clock.
With Missouri up one, 21-20, the home team reeled off the final five points of the half, including a layup from Johnson with just three seconds on the clock, for a 26-20 Mizzou halftime lead.
The Tigers scored the first seven points of the second frame to increase its lead to 11, 33-20, with 17:00 left in the contest. Kansas State responded with a 6-1 run to cut its deficit to eight, 34-26, at the 14:19 mark but a jumper by Jones one minute later brought the Mizzou advantage back to 10, 36-26.
Missouri's kept its double digit lead for most of the second half and gained its biggest lead of the night, 42-28, when Johnson sank a free throw at the 8:42 mark. Only a jumper from Wildcat Kelsey 11 seconds remaining brought the final margin to nine points, 52-43.
"This is a big deal for us because we finally turned that corner," said Hollins. "We go into each game believing we can win and we finally did what we need to do to take care of it tonight."
Mizzou travels to Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday, Feb. 21 for a 7:05 p.m. contest against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at the Devaney Center. The Tigers then return home on Tuesday, Feb. 24 to face the Texas Longhorns at 6:30 p.m. in the NCAA's Take a Kid to the Game promotion. All youth will receive free admission with the purchase of an adult ticket.