By Jack Knowlton
Missouri put the number one team in the nation to the test on the road, as they took on South Carolina. The battle of the Columbias would see the Tigers fall short of a huge upset, 68-59.
The Tigers set the tone early, dominating the first half by playing at their own pace and controlling the tempo. Shug Dickson scored 10 of her 15 points in the first half and was a bright spot all game long.
Aliyah Boston once again showed out for South Carolina. The double-double machine was on full display once again as she put up 13 points and 12 rebounds. The Gamecocks had four players in double figures.
South Carolina blocked the Tigers eight times, stuffing any chance of a comeback, along with the double-double Boston adding four blocks over her own.
The second half of the third quarter proved to make the difference for South Carolina, as they took a 10 point lead with a minute to go in the third and never looked back, outscoring the Tigers 22-14 in the third quarter.
Despite a buzzer-beater from Haley Troup to end the third, the Tigers, who coming into the game ranked third in the nation in field goal percentage, shot just 32% in the fourth. South Carolina locked down on defense and pulled away for a decisive win.
Missouri coach Robin Pingeton attested to the difficulty of playing in the SEC, one of the strongest conferences in the country, saying that it was never going to be easy for the Tigers against the number one team in the nation. Still, Pingeton seemed optimistic with where her team is headed.
“We play in a really tough league … night in night out it’s a ranked opponent, you don’t always get to see the fruits of your labor pay off immediately” coach Pingeton said.
Missouri falls to 7-8 on the year. Up next for coach Pingeton and the Tigers is a matchup against another ranked opponent in Georgia. South Carolina will try to improve to 12-0 in SEC play as they take on LSU.
Edited by Emma Moloney