Missouri women’s basketball coach Robin Pingeton challenged her defense after it underwent a late collapse in a 78-75 loss to Fresno State on Friday in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
Relegated to the consolation bracket of the Fort Worth region Saturday against an offensively-challenged Arizona State — which scored 36 points in a loss to Rice on Friday — it seemed like the perfect opportunity on paper for a quality defensive performance.
But as Missouri learned the hard way, paper isn’t reality.
Arizona State led nearly the entire way en route to a 50-39 win over the Tigers, doubling it by holding Missouri to its lowest scoring output of the year while ending its season in the process.
For the Tigers, it was a brutal performance. MU (9-13) turned the ball over 16 times, went 2 for 11 from 3-point range and only attempted six free throws. It also earned Missouri the dubious honor of having its lowest single-game point total since it scored 33 points against Princeton on Dec. 18, 2019.
Haley Troup led the Tigers with 14 points, but didn’t get much help outside of that. LaDazhia Williams and Aijha Blackwell threw in nine points each, then the remaining Tigers combined for a total of seven points. This included just two points from players off of the bench, compared to 14 bench points by Arizona State (12-11).
The Sun Devils led after every quarter, for 37:12 in total and by as much as 13 points, with the Tigers never recapturing the lead again after leading 4-3.
Second-leading scorer Hayley Frank was again out of the lineup due to COVID-19 issues. With forward Shannon Dufficy, who scored 11 points in her place against Fresno State, in the lineup instead, the Australian was made quiet with just three points on 1-of-5 shooting.
Neither Pingeton nor players were made available after the game. After a 24-11 season in 2018-19 where she took the Tigers to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Pingeton has since had an overall record of 18-34 with a 10-20 record in Southeastern Conference play.