SIUE women’s basketball took its first loss of the season Monday, dropping a 59-36 game at No. 21 Missouri.
The Cougars fell to 2-1 while the Tigers, coming off their first loss of the season, improved to 3-1 at Mizzou Arena.
“I thought we did a pretty good job defensively,” said SIUE coach Paula Buscher. “We need to keep improving it.”
SIUE had some positives come out of the game, including winning the battle of the boards 35-33. That included 13 offensive rebounds.
“I thought our rebounding was solid. We got a lot of young players in there against a good Mizzou team so I hope that will pay off for us down the road.”
Missouri, which shot 44.7 percent (21-47) from the field, jumped out to a double-digit lead after one period, leading 17-6 after the opening 10 minutes of play. SIUE struggled from the field for the game, hitting 28 percent of its shots (15-54). And it wasn’t until the final minute of the game that the Cougars hit from beyond the arc with three-pointers by Nakiah Bell and Mikia Keith.
“I thought we had times we got the ball inside, and I thought we should have relaxed, made a move and finish,” said Buscher.
Sydney Bauman provided that presence inside with 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting to go along with eight rebounds.
All-American Sophie Cunningham starred for the Tigers with 14 points and 12 rebounds, both of which were game highs.
Missouri scored 21 points off SIUE’s 19 turnovers and won the battle in the paint 32-14.
The Cougars weren’t as fluid as she would have liked but played hard as a team, according to Buscher.
“I don’t see us having any issues with the effort,” said Buscher. “I know we’re frustrated with our offensive production, but the effort was there. This is a team that will get much better as we go along, especially on the offensive end.”
SIUE’s next action is Saturday at Purdue Fort Wayne with a 1 p.m. CT tipoff.