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Autumn Johnson | December 31, 2021

How Missouri women's basketball made history and stunned No. 1 South Carolina to begin conference play

Missouri's Hayley Frank and Lauren Hansen on historic upset over No. 1 South Carolina

Conference play is already causing chaos! How about unranked Missouri giving No. 1 South Carolina its first loss of the season, 70-69, in overtime. 

In fact, this was Missouri's first win over a No. 1 team in program history, which makes them 1-8 overall against AP No. 1 teams. The Tigers are the 7th unranked team that has beaten a No. 1 team in the last 20 years. 

Here's how Missouri got the win over South Carolina on Dec. 30 to start off conference play: 

Balanced scoring attack from four Tigers 

Heading into this game, all odds were stacked against Missouri going up against No. 1 South Carolina in the SEC opener. The Tigers were missing five of their players due to injuries and others following health and safety protocols due to COVID-19 tracing, including lead scorer Aijha Blackwell, who pours in 16.6 points per game. 

Despite a limited bench, four Tigers were able to score in double figures led by Lauren Hansen and Hayley Frank both scoring 21 points each. Only three Gamecocks produced double-figure games. Everyone bought in and stepped up individually to hit some big-time shots off of 43 percent shooting from the floor and 47 percent from beyond the arc with seven triples made. 

Frank had an impressive performance throughout the entire ball game only missing two baskets, while recording a flawless 4-for-4 night from the charity stripe. But it was Hansen who called game, blowing past three Gamecocks to get in a game-winning layup in the final seconds. This gave South Carolina only .01 seconds to respond out of the in-bound play, which is impossible without at least .03 seconds on the clock. Check out the clutch lay-up from Lauren Hansen below: 

Mama Dembele also provided clutch shooting down the stretch for the Tigers by attacking the basket and knocking down a crucial three in a tight, back-and-forth battle in the fourth. Dembele finished with 11 points and also swiped away two steals to create some disruptive energy for Missouri to close out the game. 

Free-throws and missed opportunities from South Carolina

South Carolina played against a gritty Missouri team, who came in with an aggressive mindset that they had nothing to lose. From start to finish, Missouri was intentional about getting to the basket and finishing strong through contact to get extra opportunities at the line. 

Missouri went on to score 13-for-16 from the charity stripe, while we saw South Carolina only make five out of nine free throws. We're used to seeing South Carolina use its fast pace offense to constantly attack the basket, but Missouri was the aggressor in this ball game over the Gamecocks.

Zia Cooke had the opportunity to call game in the fourth quarter with less than 14 seconds left, but couldn't get the midrange floater to fall. This allowed Missouri to hang on, despite its empty gas tank with a limited bench heading into the extra quarter. 

South Carolina got the looks they needed, but unfortunately couldn't capitalize off of many possessions, shooting 29-for-76 from the floor and a rough 6-for-21 from beyond the arc. Boston had a quiet first-half performance, but the junior forward was still able to provide offensive production for South Carolina and finished with 17 points. 

Forcing key players into foul trouble 

South Carolina thrives off of its elite post production, yet Aliyah Boston, Kamilla Cardoso and Victaria Saxton were all plagued with foul trouble. Boston and Cardoso both had four fouls heading into the final frame. Despite foul trouble, the frontcourt duo combined 31 points together.

Despite having endless depth, its key players were forced to play cautious knowing its fate if either Gamecock picked up another foul. With this in Hansen's mind, we saw her use this knowledge to her advantage by relentlessly attacking the basket knowing she would cruise past defenders who couldn't afford another foul.

Missouri is now 12-2 and will face Vanderbilt for its next SEC test on Jan. 2. South Carolina will look to bounce back against LSU on Jan. 6. 

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