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The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Mizzou misses trip to Sweet 16 with 73-55 loss

2623 days ago
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas -- Ariel Atkins scored 22 points and No. 2 seed Texas earned its second consecutive trip to the Sweet 16 with a 73-55 win over No. 10 Missouri on Monday night with an impressive display of speed and athleticism that overmatched the bigger Tigers.

Lashann Higgs scored 11 points and was a sparkplug off the bench for the Longhorns (30-4), who head to the Bridgeport, Connecticut, Regional looking to make their deepest run in the postseason since a Final Four appearance in 2003. Texas will play UCLA in the Sweet 16.Missouri's starting lineup is 6-feet or taller and Texas simply turned any matchup problem on its head with aggressive defense on the perimeter that gave the Tigers no easy looks at the basket up close.

Sophie Cunningham scored 23 points for Missouri (22-10), which had made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006.

Cunningham looked to have Missouri rolling early when she hit two 3-pointers for the game's first baskets and pumped her fist as an exclamation point. But the rest of her team couldn't match her.

The Longhorns shook off a 0 for 7 shooting start with a 17-3 run that pushed the ball in transition and kept the bigger Tigers backpedaling.

Despite their quick start, the Tigers were just 3 of 16 shooting in the first quarter and launched 11 3-point attempts instead of trying to attack Imani Boyette under the basket.

Three consecutive 3-pointers pushed the Texas lead to 14 in the second. Nothing captured Texas' advantage in speed and athleticism like a play late in the quarter.

Cunningham picked off an errant pass and sprinted to the basket, but missed the layup over two Texas defenders. With one quick outlet pass to halfcourt, Brooke McCarty found Higgs for an easy layup at the other end as Texas took a 36-21 lead into halftime.

Texas had several chances to open a huge edge in the third, pushing the lead as high as 18 as Atkins made her third 3-pointer and Higgs kept doing her work on defense and in transition.

But Cunningham scored nine in the quarter to keep the Tigers in it, even though they couldn't shave the deficit under 10.

The Tigers' last push came early in the fourth when Cunningham's steal and layup cut the Texas lead to 54-43. But Atkins converted a 3-point play and Kelsey Lang's layup after a nifty pass from Brianna Taylor had the Longhorns off and running again.


Missouri: Unwilling to challenge Texas inside, the Tigers attempted 28 3-pointers and made eight.

Texas: The Longhorns average 16 turnovers a game, but in the postseason have tightened up what had been a chronic problem. Texas had 13 against Missouri compared to 20 assists on 30 field goals.


Missouri: Season's over.

Texas: Against UCLA on Saturday.