March 20, 2013
Mizzou Women's Basketball
WNIT First Round
Mizzou 58, EIU 60
Mizzou Head Coach Pingeton Quotes
"I am really appreciative of our fans today. I am really appreciative of our administration for giving us the opportunity to play at home again. I thought our fans were phenomenal. I felt like they wanted it for us. They are hurting as much as we are. They were just phenomenal. I am appreciative of them being on this journey with us. I am proud of our seniors, as hard as it is for them right now, so many positive things. When we take time to take a step back and reflect on this season and the growth we have had, I think our girls will be able to appreciate it more. It is so hard at this moment. I felt like we had our chances there at the end. Felt like in the first half, we ended up being 3-for-20 in the paint in the first half. Eastern Illinois really came in like a veteran team and put us on our heels. We had a hard time finishing shots, and in the second half, I felt like we had a lot of good looks down the stretch. They just came in and took it."
On the last possession...
"In that last timeout, we set it up to split the post and if we didn't, we wanted Bri Kulas to take it to the rim. She had the ability to do that. I think, honestly, she stepped on someone's foot or got caught up and ended up with a travel. I tried to call timeout when she went to the floor. I don't feel like they thought we had possession of the ball. Thought it got batted around a little bit, and we could never get a timeout called."
On the season...
"It has been a good year. There has been a lot of growth. I am not willing to say that it has been a fantastic year, great year or satisfied. We have seen growth in a year that we changed conferences and you have so much inexperience. I think it is good. It is the first time we have been in the postseason in a long time. This was a hard loss today, but it hasn't been done here in a long time. All three of our players that were recognized by the SEC are returning next year. I felt like we got some valuable experience from our young kids. I like the core group of kids we have coming back. They are work horses. I feel like they are dedicated to this program. I am excited about our recruits. We have a lot of positives. It is going to take 24 to 48 hours to regroup and take that step back and take a deep breath and move forward. Last game is hard no matter when it comes, and this is one that is very tough."
Senior Forward Liz Smith
On the late run by Eastern Illinois...
"I think it was just breakdowns defensively. They ran two of the same plays where [Sydney Mitchell] scored it, and that's where we needed to get that stop. Just from that point, it was hard to get our guards open and get a clear shot at the basket."
On the last possession...
"We were giving it to Bri Kulas to take it all the way in. She's been solid all year. That was her play to take, and their defense was just pretty good. It was just hard, and the [game] clock was running out."
Senior Forward Sydney Crafton
On her feelings after the loss...
"It's tough. I'm proud of my team; we've gone so far. It's mixed emotions. We just lost but we also had a great season."
Lee Buchanan, Eastern Illinois Head Coach
"Those are games you kind of dream about as a coach. Our whole goal was to control the tempo and keep the game in the fifties or sixties range. At times we tried to run, but I felt like we had to control the tempo and we shot the ball really really well. When you control the tempo and there's not a lot of possession's, you have to shoot the ball well and fortunately, this one here on my right, Ta'Kenya had a great game. She needed 12 points to break the record and she had it at halftime so I think that took a little pressure off her and she was making shots and we just kept going to her. It was a good team effort. I thought our defense was really good at times against a really good Missouri team that's big and physical. We kept it close and that last nine seconds was probably the longest nine seconds of my career, but that's ok. The ball was batted by about nine different people and Ta'Kenya ended up with it on the floor as the buzzer sounded. We're just excited about continuing our season."
On shutting down Missouri in the last four minutes...
"We didn't really change a whole lot. We've been really good all year with what we call lockdown half court and even at halftime the staff was talking about how they scored a lot of points in the first half in transition when we weren't getting matched up. We tried to slow the tempo even more in the second half so that if you're going to turn it over, we'd rather throw it out of bounds or at least get a shot out of it. We didn't do anything else. They were trying to post up Crunk, No. 22, for us. I think 21 was trying to do that to her and I think she did a pretty good job of staying under. We're just a pretty feisty little team when it comes to half-court defense.
Senior Guard Ta'Kenya Nixon
On the game winner...
"I knew we were going to run "pacman" or some type of screen action and he called a play for me. I believe Mariah or the fore player set the screen. I was kind of put in a similar situation in the tournament we just left where the ball was in my hands. I just took the mindset. I looked at Mariah and I smiled and I knew I had to take the shot. I knew I had to get myself in a good position. I had to make good shots all night so I just gave it a little pump-fake and shot with confidence. Everybody on the floor wanted me to take that shot so I took it with confidence and it went in. They're always 50-50 game winners, but as a leader and captain you always want to be the person with the ball and everybody on the team wants you with the ball so you have to take it with confidence and do what you need to do."
On the rally...
"I think the fact that we have been in that situation over the year and years. We had four seniors out there and every possession is a big possession and you don't want to bicker and get into it. You just have to move onto the next play. A bullet in our pregame speech was "move to the next play." No matter who turned the ball over, no one else on the team got mad at that person. They just encouraged them and we knew there was plenty of time on the clock to come back at any point."
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