Nov. 22, 2005
COLUMBIA, Mo. -
The University of Missouri women's basketball team found the win column in emphatic fashion, as a 37-5 run near the start of the contest helped the Tigers defeat Northwestern University 87-64 and even their overall record at 2-2 on the year.
For the first time since a 70-65 overtime win at Nebraska last season (Feb. 26, 2005), all five Tiger starters reached double figures, led by senior guard LaToya Bond (Urbana, Ill. / Urbana HS). She poured in a game-high 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting and went a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line to go with her second-straight five-steal game.
Junior forward Carlynn Savant (Euless, Texas / Trinity HS) added 16 points thanks to a 4-of-6 shooting night from three-point range, while junior forwards Tiffany Brooks (Leavenworth, Kan. / Leavenworth HS / Kansas State) and EeTisha Riddle (O'Fallon, Ill. / O'Fallon HS) each contributed 12. Senior center Christelle N'Garsanet (Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire / Illinois Central College) rounded out the double-digit scorers for Mizzou, pouring in 11.
A.J. Glasauer and Ifeoma Okonkwo led the Wildcats (1-1) with 16 points apiece.
Although the Tigers were solid from the floor (27-of-61, 44.3 percent) and outstanding from beyond the arc (8-of-17, 47.1) it was Mizzou's defensive pressure that dictated the outcome in this contest. Missouri scored a remarkable 23 points off Wildcat turnovers in the opening stanza, culminating with its largest lead of the game, 37-7, at the 6:10 mark.
Down 2-0 following a Glasauer put-back, Mizzou rattled off the next 11 tallies to seize control. Savant initiated the burst with her first of three treys in the opening period to give the Tigers a lead they wouldn't relinquish. An N'Garsanet free throw and four consecutive Bond points segued to a second Savant triple as the Tigers forged in front 11-2.
The two clubs then traded buckets to keep the Missouri advantage at 10 (17-7), but 20-0 MU surge over the ensuing 5:46 helped the hosts pull away for good. Northwestern missed all eight of its field goal attempts and committed eight of its 15 first-half turnovers during the rally, which Mizzou promptly converted into 12 points.
"I thought we played outstanding in the first half. The second half left much to be desired, but we won," Head Coach Cindy Stein said. "'Toya sparked so much for us. She's my All-Category Player. In all categories on the stat sheet, she can dominate. For her to get all of those stats and no turnovers tonight is something. She showed her balance on a couple of those steals, tip-toeing down the sideline."
Missouri remained in control throughout the final period despite an improved offensive effort from the Wildcats. After Missouri's pressure held Northwestern to just 28.6 percent shooting (8-of-28) in the opening half, the Wildcats improved to a 51.6 percent success rate from the floor (16-of-31), yet managed to slice Mizzou's lead below 20 points on just one occasion (74-55 at 4:10).
The Tigers built their lead to as many as 29 in the second half after carrying a 46-21 lead into the halftime break. Bond scored 12 of her 19 points over the final 20 minutes to keep Northwestern at arms length and hand the hosts their sixth consecutive home-opening victory.
The Tigers return to action on Friday, Nov. 25, at the Pittsburgh Thanksgiving Tournament. Mizzou will face Towson in the opening round at Noon before facing the host Panthers on Sunday (Nov. 27) at 11 a.m.