Bri Kulas and the Tigers tip off against Tennessee at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Feb. 22, 2014
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MU Head Coach: Robin Pingeton
(St. Ambrose `90) 59-61 at MU (4th season)
UT Head Coach: Holly Warlick
(Tennessee, `81) 48-13 at UT (2nd season)
MIZZOU WELCOMES NO. 10 TENNESSEE FOR BLACKOUT GAME
The Tigers are back in Columbia, Mo. on Sunday to host No. 10 Tennessee at 1 p.m.. Sunday's game marks the annual Blackout event and all fans are encouraged to wear black to Mizzou Arena. The first 500 fans to arrive will receive free black Mizzou t-shirts. Mizzou is 1-4 on the series with the Lady Vols, upsetting the team last season in Mizzou Arena, 80-63 after falling at Tennessee, 84-39 earlier in the season.
The regular season schedule is coming to a close as the Tigers welcome Ole Miss on Thursday. Feb. 27 for the final regular season home game. Mizzou's senior class will be honored at senior night, and the game will tip-off at 7 p.m. Mizzou is 2-1 on the series with Ole Miss, earning a win over the Rebels in this season's conference opener, 85-76.
TAKING A LOOK AT TENNESSEE
The 10th-ranked Lady Vols boast a 10-3 record in conference play this season, coming to Missouri off of a 30-point victory at Auburn. Tennessee is shooting 46.9-percent from the field this season, a stat that ranks them ninth in the nation. Lady Vol Isabelle Harrison leads the team, shooting 57.8-percent on the season (13th in the country). Harrison is also ranked 26th in the nation for her 13 double-doubles this year. Harrison averages 13.6 points per game, but Tennessee is led by Meighan Simmons who averages 15.5 points per game while shooting 44-percent from the field.
LAST TIME OUT
Missouri topped Florida in Gainesville last Thursday, 81-76, thanks to a huge effort from freshman Sierra Michaelis. Earning her second-career start, Michaelis knocked down a career-high 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds on her way to her first-ever double-double. She also snagged a career-best four steals. Four Tigers scored in double-figures on the night, marking the seventh time that has happened this season. Morgan Eye tallied six three-pointers on the night, helping the Tigers to net 12 treys as a team.
LSU (#16/14) was the seventh ranked opponent in the last seven games for the Tigers this season. Last season Missouri faced six total ranked teams during conference play, that number increase this year with No. 10 Tennessee still left on the schedule. This is the first time in Coach Pingeton's career at Missouri that the Tigers have faced four consecutive ranked teams, they played three consecutive in her first season with Missouri.
The Tigers' win over No. 16 Vanderbilt marks Mizzou's second win over a ranked opponent this season. Mizzou has earned two or more wins over ranked opponents in three of Head Coach Robin Pingeton's four years at MU. Should the Tigers top Tennessee, it will be the first time since the 2010-11 season that the Tigers have earned three top-25 wins. Prior to that, the last time Mizzou picked up three top-25 wins was the 2000-01 season.
With an 11-2 record in the non-conference, the Tigers gained momentum leading to conference play. In Tiger victories this season, Mizzou is holding its opponents to just 60.2 points per game with an average scoring margin of +16.3 points. Mizzou averages 4.5 blocks per game in winning contests and also outrebounds opponents by almost seven rebounds per game. Proving that the Tigers unselfish strategy works, the Tigers average 18.1 assists per victory, eight more than opponents. Also, five Tigers average seven points or more in Mizzou's victories.
Under fourth-year head coach Robin Pingeton, Mizzou is continuing to play great team basketball. That is evidenced by Mizzou's 16.0 assists per game (third in the SEC and 44th nationally).
The Tigers have been on top of things on the road this season, out-shooting opponents in every category: Mizzou shoots 40.6-percent from the floor to opponents' 37.9, 41.0-percent from distance to opponents' 33.0 and 79.5-percent from the charity stripe to opponents' 67.6-percent.
In road games this season, the Tigers are sticking together. Mizzou assists on 67.5-percent of its field goals. In fact, that has been a trend under the direction of head coach Robin Pingeton. Last season, Mizzou assisted on 64.7-percent of its field goals - up from 61.7-percent in 2011-12 and just 53.2-percent in 2010-11, Pingeton's first year. The team checks in at 64.8-percent this season, ahead of last season's pace and 12-percent higher than in her first season as the team continues to buy into her team-first coaching style.
This season the Tigers are averaging 3.6 blocks per game, a number that is much improved from last season when the Tigers averaged 2.3 blocks per game. Freshman Jordan Frericks is dominating in this category, she leads the team with 36 blocks on the season, good for an average of 1.4 per game (seventh-best in the SEC).
Staying on the topic of blocks, Mizzou has 94 blocks as a team this season, almost 20 more than it had all of last year (75). In fact, Frericks' 36 blocks are the most by a Tiger since Christine Flores (who was drafted in the WNBA draft) who had 93 during her senior season in 2011-12.
The Tiger staff is stressing a defensive mindset this season, and Missouri's numbers are showing it. The Tigers are amongst leaders in the SEC: second in defensive rebounding at 29.0 per game and the Tigers are second in the league in defensive rebounding percentage at 70.2-percent.
Speaking of rebounding, the Tigers are very good after the break this season, outrebounding opponents by 3.8 in the second half of games as the team averages 21.2 rebounds in the second half this season.
This season, Kulas is averaging 18.4 points per game, good for second in the league. Kulas also ranks in the league's top-ten in FG% (7th, .456), FT% (4th, .827), 3-point FG made (7th, 1.8), and defensive rebounds (8th, 5.0 per game) as she is putting together an All-SEC-type season.
Staying on the topic of Kulas, she is in elite company this season. She joins Tennessee's Meighan Simmons as the only players in the SEC to score 10 or more field goals in at least four games this season. Simmons was an All-American last season and the SEC Co-Player of the Year and the Preseason Player of the Year in the league and Kulas is averaging more points, more rebounds and shooting at a higher clip (both inside and outside the arc) than Simmons this season.
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