March 6, 2013
Arena: The Arena at the Gwinnett Center (13,000)
TV: Fox Sports Midwest
Play-by-Play: Dave Baker; Analyst: Maria Taylor
Radio: KTGR 100.5/103.1 FM
MU: Robin Pingeton (St. Ambrose `90) 43-49 at MU (third season)
VU: Melanie Balcomb (Trenton State, `84), 257-104 at VU (11th season)
MISSOURI HEADS TO SEC TOURNAMENT
Missouri Women's Basketball will begin post season play on Thursday as the No. 10 seed at the SEC Tournament. The Tigers will take on the Vanderbilt Commodores at 6 p.m., 5 p.m. CT. Should the Tigers win on Thursday, Mizzou will advance to take on the No. 2 seed Kentucky in the next round. This will be the second meeting between Missouri and Vanderbilt. The teams first met on Feb. 14 in Nashville, and the Commodores topped the Tigers 62-46.
A LOOK AT VANDY
The Commodores earned a No. 7 seed in the tournament after earning a 19-10 record overall and finishing 9-7 in conference play. After winning three games in a row, the Commodores will see the Tigers after a loss at Georgia to close out the season. Vanderbilt is led by senior Tiffany Clark, who is averaging 16.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Jasmine Lister is also a player to watch as she puts up an average of 12.5 points per game. She has dished out a team-leading 156 assists so far this season as well.
The SEC Tournament begins on March 6 with the #12 and #13 seeds competing at 6 p.m. There will be four games on Thursday, March 7 beginning with the #8 and #9 seets at noon. At 2:30 the winner of game one will play the #5 seed and seeds #10 and #7 will play at 6 p.m. The #11 seed will play the #6 seed at 8:30.
The Tigers' 88-64 win at Alabama marks Mizzou's 17th win this season. That is the most for Mizzou since the 2006-07 season when the team went 17-14 overall, earning a berth in the NIT Tournament. In fact, Mizzou has as many home wins this season as it did wins last season (13). The Tigers have earned six conference wins this season as well, marking the first time they have done that since the 2005-06 season when Mizzou finished 10-6 in Big 12 play. The Tigers are guaranteed their first winning season since 2006-07 as well as the team continues to show progress under third-year head coach Rob Pingeton.
A win Thursday over Vanderbilt in the first round of the SEC Tournament would give the Tigers their most wins in a season since 2005-06 (18).
The Tigers' 65-58 win over No. 14 South Carolina on Thursday marks their second win over a top-15 program this season. The last time Mizzou won a pair of games over top-15 competition was the 2000-01 season when Mizzou advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. Mizzou defeated No. 12 Texas and No. 4 Georgia that season.
The Tigers continue to show improvement as a team under the direction of third-year head coach Robin Pingeton. In fact, if the season ended today, Mizzou would have an improved field goal percentage (.418), more rebounds per game (39.1), more points per game (66.7), more assists per game (15.6), fewer turnovers, more 3-point field goals and more steals. Mizzou is also on pace to outscore its opponents in a full season for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
The Tigers' win over No. 9 Tennessee marks the first time since Jan. 23, 2010 that a Mizzou team has defeated a top 10 opponent. In 2010 the Tigers knocked down No. 10 Baylor, 70-62.
Mizzou has made at least 13 3-pointers in seven games this season, an SEC high in 2012-13 as Mizzou owns the top seven team 3-point shooting performances in the SEC this season. Morgan Eye owns two of the top individual three-point shooting performances in the league so far this season as well.
Despite having one of the smaller teams in the SEC, the Tiger have managed to put together a positive rebounding margin for the season, checking in at +1.9. In fact, Mizzou is a better rebounding team than a season ago despite losing a pair of senior post players in Christine Flores and BreAnna Brock. Mizzou out-rebounded a much bigger South Carolina team, 38-30, last Thursday and pulled in a season-best 53 boards on Sunday at Alabama.
The Tigers lead the SEC in defensive rebounding percentage (70.8) during all games this season and is second in defensive rebounds at 28.6 per game. Mizzou has given up the fifth-fewest offensive rebounds in the SEC this season (354) and has grabbed an SEC-best 858 defensive rebounds. Mizzou is one of just two SEC teams with at least 800 defensive rebounds.
The Tigers continue to play great team basketball under third-year head coach Robin Pingeton and the numbers prove it. Mizzou has assisted on 467 of their 721 field goals (64.8-percent), an SEC-best this season. The Tigers assisted on 23 of 32 field goals at Alabama on Sunday.
Despite having one of the smaller teams in the SEC, Mizzou has made a living scoring points in the paint this season. In fact, Mizzou is averaging 24.9 ppg in the paint this season and have eclipsed the 30-point mark in the paint 12 times. In fact, nearly 40-percent of the team's scoring this season has come inside the paint area. In wins, Mizzou is averaging 29.1 ppg in the paint, not a bad mark for a team that has made 253 3-pointers as well.
Three Tigers earned a spot on the All-SEC Teams this week. Bri Kulas was a second-team All-SEC Selection while point guard Lianna Doty earned a spot on the All-SEC Freshman Team. Morgan Eye took home a major conference award as well, being dubbed the Co-6th Woman of the Year in the SEC. In addition, Liz Smith was named to the All-SEC Community Service Team.
Bri Kulas is averaging a team-best 13.7 ppg in SEC play and 3.4 of those 13.7 ppg have come from the free throw line as she has shown great ability to get to the charity stripe in league play and hit the freebies when she is there. Kulas entered SEC play as just a 65.4-percent free throw shooter, but in SEC play, she is shooting a team-best 82.1-percent from the stripe, third-best in the SEC. She has raised her season average nearly 10 points to 74.6-percent since SEC play started.
Morgan Eye's 175 career treys put her at No. 2 all-time on Missouri's career three-pointers made list. That trails Alyssa Hollins (226) who played four seasons under former head coach Cindy Stein. Eye's 175 in a two-year span is the best-two year span in Mizzou history, breaking Hollins' mark of 153 set in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons. Eye is averaging 87.5 3-pointers per season in her first two years as a Tiger.
Senior center Liz Smith has been a big part of the Tiger offense this season, and a big part of that is due to her increased efficiency. In fact, coming into the year Smith was just a 31.4-percent shooter and averaged a miniscule 1.5 ppg. This season, Smith has flipped the script and is shooting 52.7-percent from the floor while averaging 7.2 ppg. Her rebounding numbers are way up as well as she is grabbing 5.1 boards per game, up from just 3.5 a season ago.
Lianna Doty has accumulated 55 steals so far this season, which surpasses last season's team steals leader, Christine Flores. Flores tallied 35 steals through 31 games in 2011-12. Missouri's all-time record for most steals in a season stands at 98, set by Amanda Lassiter in the 2000-01 season.
Doty has also surpassed Kyley Simmons' 2011-12 team-leading 111 assists as she has 144 so far this season.
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