Bri Kulas and Tania Jackson make up this season's Tiger senior class.
Feb. 26, 2014
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TV: Fox Sports Midwest
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MU Head Coach: Robin Pingeton
(St. Ambrose `90) 59-62 at MU (4th season)
UM Head Coach: Matt Insell
(Middle Tennessee, `07) 10-18 at UM (1st season)
TIGERS HOST OLE MISS FOR SENIOR NIGHT
The regular season schedule is winding down 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. The Tigers will also be broadcast on Fox Sports Midwest. Mizzou is 2-1 on the series with Ole Miss, earning a win over the Rebels in this season's conference opener, 85-76.
Mizzou will travel to Arkansas to face the Razorbacks in this year's final regular season matchup. Mizzou is 4-8 overall in program history against Arkansas with the last meeting coming in Columbia on Jan. 5. The Tigers fell to the Razorbacks, 69-66 in a close contest. Following Arkansas, the Tigers will continue play at the SEC Tournament, which begins on March 5 and continues until the 9th.
TAKING A LOOK AT OLE MISS
The Rebels are 10-18 this season, coming to Mizzou off of an overtime loss to Mississippi State last weekend. Tia Faleru leads Ole Miss this season, averaging 17 points per game and grabbing almost 10 rebounds a game. Faleru has put up 17 double-doubles this season, the 17th most in the country. Valencia McFarland is also scoring in double-figures for the Rebels, averaging 16.5 points per game while seeing an average of 35 minutes on the court per game. McFarland averages 6.4 assists per game, good for third best in the lead and 13th in the nation. The Rebels are among conference leaders as the team averages just 13.6 turnovers per game, the number also ranks the team among the top 50 in the nation.
LAST TIME OUT
Missouri dropped a tough contest to No. 10 Tennessee at home. The Tigers stayed right with the Lady Vols, but couldn't finish, falling 56-50 on Sunday. Bri Kulas and Morgan Eye led the Tigers with 22 and 15 points, respectively. The Tigers welcomed 5,017 fans to the contest, the seventh largest home crowd in program history.
Senior Bri Kulas and junior Morgan Eye are quickly approaching the millennium mark. Kulas is just 15 points away from 1,000 in her career, while Eye only needs 13 points to reach the milestone.
No. 10 Tennessee was the eighth ranked opponent that the Tigers have faced this season. Last season Missouri faced six total ranked teams during conference play. 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 another ranked opponent this season, 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 15.8 assists per game (fourth in the SEC and 47th 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 3.5 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 1.3 per game (ninth-best in the SEC).
Staying on the topic of blocks, Mizzou has 95 blocks as a team this season, 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 2.8. per game and the Tigers are second in the league in defensive rebounding percentage at 70.1-percent.
Speaking of rebounding, the Tigers are very good after the break this season, outrebounding opponents by 3.3 in the second half of games as the team averages 20.9 rebounds in the second half this season.
This season, Kulas is averaging 18.6 points per game, good for second in the league. Kulas also ranks in the league's top-ten in FG% (6th, .450), FT% (3rd, .830), 3-point FG made (7th, 49, 1.8 per game), and defensive rebounds (8th, 135, 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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