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Kulas, Missouri fall to No. 10 Tennessee

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 23, 2014 at 5:29 pm •  Published: February 23, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri was hoping for a repeat of last season's upset of Tennessee. The Tigers didn't shoot well enough for a similar outcome.

Bri Kulas scored 22 points and Morgan Eye added 15 for the Tigers in the 56-50 loss to the No. 10 Lady Vols on Sunday.

The Tigers shot 7 of 32 from beyond the arc, including 2 of 15 before halftime. Despite the misses, the team clawed back to 50-47 on Kulas' layup with 1:22 to go after the Lady Vols held a 43-27 advantage just 10 ½ minutes earlier.

Eye and Sierra Michaelis then both missed 3-pointers before Tennessee's Isabelle Harrison drained four consecutive free throws for a 54-47 lead with nine seconds remaining.

"It was just one of those nights that we had a hard time getting things going," coach Robin Pingeton said. "And it never really got contagious except for that little stretch down there in the second half."

The Tigers (16-11, 5-9 SEC) only trailed by one point at halftime and shot 29.2 percent from the field before Tennessee built its lead early in the second half.

"No, I don't think we were nervous," said Tennessee's Andraya Carter about the final minute. "We actually just kept telling each other to stay composed. Just play our game, slow down, relax. We were going to be fine."

Meighan Simmons scored 20 points, her fourth 20-plus performance in the past five games, and Mercedes Russell tied a career high with 11 rebounds to lead the Lady Vols (22-5, 11-3 SEC).

Missouri, which ranks third in the country and first in the SEC with 9.5 3-pointers per game, missed its first nine 3s before Kayla McDowell's long-range attempt connected 9 ½ minutes into the game.

Only four players scored for the Tigers, who finished 7 of 32 from 3-point range.

"Our shots just weren't falling tonight," Kulas said. "But we're still going to continue to shoot those shots because we have confidence in ourselves and we know we can knock down those shots."

The schools met for the first time since Missouri upset then-No. 9 Tennessee 80-63 on Feb. 3, 2013. Officials announced attendance at 5,017, the highest this season for Missouri.

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