Fall sports are winding down, basketball just getting started for Mizzou
Darren Hellwege, Sports Commentator
As KBIA moves into pledge drive mode, it’s a crazy busy week for me, but here are a few random thoughts on several issues related to Mizzou sports.
FOOTBALL: Tigers getting defensive
Throughout the Pinkel Renaissance in Missouri football, Tiger teams have tended to win with outstanding offense and a defense that was good enough to win most of the time. It’s interesting to see a different style of winning this year with as the Tigers have struggled on offense but have won with great play by the defense. Most people are scratching their heads wondering how the Tigers could be 7-2 and in first place in the SEC East, but it’s not a complicated answer—defense.
Summer workouts continue as the Missouri Tigers women’s basketball team prepares for the 2014-2015 season. Coach Robin Pingeton’s club will try to improve on last year’s 17-14 record and second consecutive WNIT appearance. While Bri Kulas’ graduation leaves big shoes to fill, the Tigers welcome four new players to the team. One is a junior college transfer, another a transfer whose required year off the court is finished, and two are among the outstanding high school players from Missouri of the last few years. Here’s a look at the newest members of the team:
Juanita Robinson (junior college transfer) — 4-star recruit and ranked in top 100 nationally by ESPN out of high school. Originally signed with Ohio but ended up instead at Johnson County Community College, the same school as Bri Kulas. Junior College All-American, averaged 11 points Read more of this post
Senior Bri Kulas (13) drives past Isabelle Harrison (20) for a layup. Kulas had 22 points and six rebounds in the loss to Tennessee.
Hoping for a repeat of last year’s upset victory against Tennessee, the Missouri women’s basketball team played the Volunteers closely in the first 20 minutes, entering the break down 25-22.
But Tennessee’s 18-5 run to open the second half, which pushed the Volunteers lead to 16, proved to be too much for the Tigers to overcome as they fell 56-50 Sunday at Mizzou Arena.
“We knew we had to come out and hit them and not give them much hope,” Tennessee guard Andraya Carter said. “That 16-point lead was really good for us.”
The Tigers fought back and made a run late to push the Volunteers. Morgan Eye and Sierra Michaelis each had a chance at a game tying 3-pointer with less than a minute remaining, but neither shot fell.
“I thought we had good looks,” Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said of the two shots. “I thought we had the kids shooting the ball that we wanted shooting the ball.”
Missed 3-point shots were the story of the game for the Tigers. Missouri, usually a potent 3-point shooting team (37.1 percent), made just seven of 32 (21.9 percent) outside attempts against Read more of this post
Missouri forward Kayla McDowell (20) makes her way to the basket against an Alabama defender. The freshman had 12 points and 11 rebounds coming off the bench.
COLUMBIA — After trailing Alabama by 10 at the half, the Missouri women’s basketball team made it interesting by taking the lead with 7:40 to go in the game.
Missouri’s improved shooting in the second half allowed the team to go on a 10-0 run and take the lead, but a couple of 3-pointers by the Crimson Tide helped Alabama take the lead and eventually move on with a 59-56 win.
The loss dropped the Tigers to 14-10 and 3-8 in the Southeastern Conference, while the Crimson Tide improved to 11-12 and 4-6 in the SEC.
“We had a chance at halftime to regroup a little bit,” Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. “I thought our girls had a really good second half of basketball. But in this league you’ve got to be able to put 40 minutes together.”
After going 1-for-13 from beyond the arc in the first half, the Tigers fixed their 3-point shooting and hit four in the second half. Missouri guard Morgan Eye hit three of those four 3-pointers and had 19 points on the day. This is the Read more of this post
Missouri forward Kayla McDowell (20) beats Vanderbilt defenders Marqu’es Webb (22) and Kylee Smith (23) to the basket for a layup. McDowell had 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
COLUMBIA — Missouri freshman Kayla McDowell leapt for the ball after a missed 3-point attempt by Vanderbilt senior Jasmine Lister. With seven seconds to go and Missouri leading by three, McDowell knew that her next move could seal the game.
“I just held on to (the ball) as tight as I could,” McDowell said. “I knew I was gonna get fouled.”
McDowell pulled the ball down and was fouled, sending her to the free-throw line. She sunk the last two shots of the game, giving the Missouri women’s basketball team a 59-54 victory over No. 16/No. 18 Vanderbilt.
Missouri improved to 14-7 (3-5 Southeastern Conference) with the win, while Vanderbilt dropped to 16-5 (5-3 SEC).
The Tigers played great defensively, holding the Commodores to a season low 54 points. Vanderbilt was also held to a Read more of this post
The news last week of the release of Ryan Ferguson brought back memories of the horrible crime that took the life of Columbia Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in 2001. I talk with current Sports editor Joe Walljasper about Heitholt, his friend and boss. You’ll hear from Southern Illinois basketball coach Barry Hinson in a post game interview that is nothing short of hysterical. And I start it all off with a look back over a 3-0 start to women’s basketball at Mizzou.
Darren Hellwege is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the United States Basketball Writers Association.
Yesterday I previewed the forwards and coaching staff for the 2013-2014 Missouri women’s basketball team, one that appears to be on the verge of a breakthrough year. Today we look at the guards, where there is a lot of returning talent.
Lianna Doty (1) dribbles down the court as Michelle Hudyn (12) follows in the February 2013 game against LSU. Both players are back for Missouri this year.
1 Lianna Doty, sophomore, 5’7” – Part of the Southeastern Conference’s All Freshman team last season, Doty’s looked like a potential superstar almost from the moment she stepped on campus. After taking the job from another very talented young point (Kyley Simmons, now at Illinois) Doty showed herself capable of running the offense well and making some beautiful passes. Unfortunately, for a while some of the passes were as likely to surprise teammates as defenders, and Doty had some pretty ugly turnover numbers at times last year. But that’s improved considerably and Doty’s becoming a more complete player, stepping up her defense and showing a willingness and ability to both shoot from outside and drive to the basket to score or dish. She’s very tough to guard. You can’t be a great team without a great point, and Missouri should have one for the next three years with Doty.
Bri Kulas is one of Missouri’s two senior players.
As the 2013-2014 season gets underway for Missouri’s women’s basketball, there are some big hopes around Mizzou Arena. After last year’s team made postseason play for the first time in many years, Robin Pingeton’s fourth season as head coach appears to be one that could be the “breakthrough” we’ve seen coming for a while.
As we take a look at the roster for this year’s Tiger team, there’s more talent and depth than we’ve seen in a lot of years. But much of it is still with the underclassmen. How fast the youngest Tigers develop will be a major factor in whether this is the year things get serious, or if it’s just another year on the pathway to that eventual breakthrough.
Today I look at the forwards and coaching staff. Tomorrow I’ll wrap up the review with the guards.
00 Darian Saunders, sophomore, 6’1” – After averaging about 9 minutes of playing time last season, Saunders played very sparingly in the two exhibition games this season and spent the first two regular season games on the bench. She’s got skills, especially on defense, and has shown at times to be a player giving a lot of effort. She’s in a spot I’ve seen quite a few sophomores reach over the years, and she could go one of two ways —with all the talent on this team, she’ll either step up her game and become a key part of the Tigers in her final year or two (like Bree Fowler this year, and players like Sydney Read more of this post