Tigers Earn Hard-Fought Victory, 70-61

Senior Sydney Crafton finished with 19 points on the game.

Senior Sydney Crafton finished with 19 points on the game.

Nov. 15, 2012

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Columbia, Mo. - Senior leader Sydney Crafton led the way for the Tigers (3-0) in their first close game of the year, as Mizzou took a hard-fought 70-61 win over the Western Illinois Leathernecks Thursday (Nov. 15) night in Mizzou Arena. Crafton's 19 points helped carried the team as Western Illinois kept fighting and kept the game close until the very end. Freshman Lianna Doty took advantage of her first start, tallying 14 points and forcing turnovers at key times to help the Tigers to their first close win of the year.

Missouri won the opening tip and quickly scored, with Crafton hitting a jump shot. Doty then forced a turnover and converted a layup on the other end. Crafton added on to the Mizzou lead with a layup, putting the Tigers ahead 6-0. After a Western Illinois timeout, the Leathernecks opened play with a three, cutting the lead in half. Doty answered on Missouri's next possession, draining a pair of free throws. A put back off an offensive board gave WIU two more points, but Liene Priede responded with a moving jumper in the lane for a 10-5 lead at the under-16 media timeout.

Priede nailed another shot after the break, but Western Illinois went on a mini 5-0 run to cut the deficit to 12-10. After a Leatherneck free throw cut the Mizzou lead to 12-11, Morgan Eye drained a three to extend the Missouri lead to 15-11. Darian Saunders then got on the board with a layup, building the Mizzou lead back to six. WIU split a pair of free throws, and Crafton made a layup to give the Tigers a 19-12 advantage. The Leathernecks answered with a layup, but Crafton made a pair of free throws to keep Mizzou up 21-14.

Western Illinois cut the lead to 21-16 before Kyley Simmons found Bri Kulas wide open under the hoop for an easy layup, and Priede then got her own assist on a fast break to put Missouri up 25-16. The Leathernecks then drained a three, and Crafton split a pair of free throws before another WIU three cut the lead to 26-22. Saunders then made another layup to put the Tigers back up six at the under-4 timeout. A Kulas free throw resumed play, and Priede hit another shot to put Missouri up nine before a WIU bucket and two free throws produced a 31-26 halftime score.

Western Illinois drained a three to start the second half, and Mizzou answered with a quick four points from Doty and Crafton for a 35-29 lead before a 5-0 run by the Leathernecks cut the Mizzou lead to 35-34. Eye nailed a three after the timeout, but the Leathernecks matched her effort on their next trip down the floor and made a layup for their first lead of the game on their next possession. Eye responded with another three, her third of the game, to give Mizzou a two-point lead once again. The teams then traded threes, with Doty connecting for the Tigers as they clung to a 44-42 advantage. Crafton then made a tough shot in the paint to boost the Mizzou lead to four before WIU answered with a jumper to make the score 46-44 at the under-12 media timeout.

Doty split a pair of free throws after the break, and the Leathernecks tied the game with a three. Liz Smith scored on a layup, and after WIU answered Simmons nailed a three for a 52-49 lead at the 9-minute mark. Smith connected on another shot to give the Tigers a five-point lead, but the Leathernecks got a quick layup to pull back within three. Doty answered with a jumper that was matched by Western Illinois, and a step-back three by the Leathernecks tied the game at 56. Crafton's reverse layup put Mizzou back up two, and Saunders matched the effort with a layup of her own for a four-point lead before Western Illinois quickly cut the deficit to 60-58 at the under-4 timeout.

Crafton opened play with a layup, and Doty came through with a big steal and layup to give the Tigers separation at 64-58. Eye drained a three to give Mizzou a 67-58 advantage, and Kulas's three to give the Tigers a 12-point lead proved too much for WIU, who fell 70-61.

The Tigers next head to Cancun for the Cancun Challenge, and return home for a November 29 matchup against SEMO. Check in to the team's twitter page (@MissouriWBB) or MUTigers.com for updates on the squad's trip to Meixco and all other team news.



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