Panthers Capture First Postseason Win at Mizzou

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Published on March 21 2013 10:11 am
Last Updated on March 21 2013 10:11 am
Written by Millie Lange

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Senior Ta’Kenya Nixon hit a jump shot with 19 seconds left in the game to give the Eastern Illinois women’s basketball team its first postseason victory in school history, 60-58, over Missouri in the first round of the WNIT on Wednesday night.

Nixon became the school’s all-time scoring leader in the win, surpassing Rachel Galligan (2005-09). She now has 1,907 career points.

After trailing 29-27 at intermission, the Tigers (17-15) started the second half by hitting 66.7 percent of their shot attempts (14-for-21) to regain the lead. Missouri led by as much as eight (47-39) with 12 minutes left in the contest, but the Panther defense would hold the Tigers without a field goal (0-for-5) in the final four minutes of action.

The first half had seven lead changes and seven ties with neither team leading by more than four points. EIU had its largest lead, 19-15, with 8:33 on the clock before taking a 29-27 advantage into the locker room. All told, the contest had 11 lead changes and nine ties.

Nixon paced the Panther offense with 27 points, going 13-for-17 from the field. The senior guard also added five assists, four steals and three rebounds. Classmate Mariah King chipped in 11 points in the win.

The Panthers hit 50 percent of their field-goal attempts (27-for-54) on the night while knocking down both free throw attempts. Missouri finished the day connecting on 40.3 percent of its shots (25-for-62).

EIU was outrebounded by six (35-29) as King and Sabina Oroszova paced the squad with five rebounds each. The Panthers forced 16 Tiger turnovers, converting the miscues into 14 points.

Bri Kulas and Sydney Crafton paced the Tigers with 12 points each. Liz Smith added nine points and a game-high eight rebounds.

EIU will play the winner of the Illinois/Miami (OH) game in second round action on March 23-25.