Missouri will make its first post season appearance since 2007.
March 19, 2013
Arena: Mizzou Arena (15,061)
Radio: KTGR 100.5/103.1 FM
Video: Mizzou Network will stream Wednesday's game for free at www.mizzounetwork.com
MU: Robin Pingeton (St. Ambrose `90) 43-50 at MU (third season)
EIU: Lee Buchanan (Murray State, `83), 19-11 at EIU (first season)
Tickets: General admission ($6) and Children/student ($4) tickets are available for purchase online here, or can be purchased by calling 1-800 CAT PAWS. They are also available for purchase at the Mizzou Arena Ticket office.
Doors will open for the event at 6 p.m., and seating will be general admission. The first 100 students to arrive at the Arena will receive free admission. Students wishing to attend the game can enter through the ZouCrew entrance, located on the Northeast side of Mizzou Arena.
Regular season procedures will be followed in regards to parking for the event. Mizzou Women's Basketball season ticket holders are permitted to park in lots P and I, while general parking will be in lots O, K and M.
TIGERS EARN FIRST POST SEASON BERTH SINCE 2006-07 SEASON
Missouri Women's Basketball will take on Eastern Illinois in the first round of the Women's National Invitational tournament on Wednesday, March 20. The game marks Missouri's first post season appearance since the 2006-07 season, and the Tigers' fifth trip to the WNIT all-time. The Tigers are 8-1 in program history against Eastern Illinois with the last meeting on December 7, 2011 at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers topped the Panthers in a close contest, 56-54.
A LOOK AT EASTERN ILLINOIS
At 19-11 so far this season, the Eastern Illinois Panthers will come to Columbia on a three-game losing streak after dropping its Ohio Valley Tournament contest to UT Martin, and falling to SIU Edwardsville and UT Martin in the last two games of the regular season. The Panthers are led by seniors Ta'Kenya Nixon and Mariah King. Nixon averages 14.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game , while King grabs 6.4 rebounds per game while putting up 14 points on average. Sophomore Sabina Oroszova is also a major component of the Panther squad as she has snagged a team-leading 211 rebounds this season, 146 on the defensive side.
Should the Tigers come out with a win the first round of play, the team will advance to the second round to take on the winner of Thursday's contest between Illinois and Miami of Ohio. A complete 2013 WNIT bracket can be found on page 14 of the game notes.
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 WNIT Tournament. In fact, Mizzou has more 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 in the first round of the WNIT would give the Tigers their most wins in a season since 2005-06 (18).
The Tigers are 3-4 in postseason play in the WNIT. All three of the Tigers' wins have come on their home court.
The Tigers' 65-58 win over No. 14 South Carolina 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 (.417), more rebounds per game (38.9), more points per game (65.9), more assists per game (15.4), fewer turnovers, more 3-point field goals (8.3 per game) and more steals (6.7 per game). 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 Tigers have managed to put together a positive rebounding margin for the season, checking in at +1.7. 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, and pulled in a season-best 53 boards at Alabama.
The Tigers lead the SEC in defensive rebounding percentage (70.2) during all games this season and is second in defensive rebounds at 28.5 per game. Mizzou has given up the fourth-fewest offensive rebounds in the SEC this season (374) and has grabbed 858 defensive rebounds, good for second in the league.
The Tigers continue to play great team basketball under third-year head coach Robin Pingeton and the numbers prove it. Mizzou has assisted on 476 of their 721 field goals (64.5-percent), an SEC-best this season.
PINGETON IN THE POSTSEASON
Missouri's 2013 invitation to the WNIT is the first under head coach Robin Pingeton, but it marks Pingeton's fourth trip to the tournament. During her tenure at Illinois State, Pingeton led her team to three Postseason WNIT appearances and two NCAA Tournament appearances. While at St. Ambrose, Pingeton's teams made five trips to the NAIA National Tournament. Pingeton's teams boast an 8-3 record in WNIT play.
2006-07 vs. Rice W, 71-61 3OT at South Dakota State L, 61-48 22-11 (.667) overall
2008-09 vs. Louisiana Tech W, 73-59 vs. Marquette W, 51-50 vs. Indiana W, 66-55 at Kansas L, 75-72 27-8 (.771) overall
2009-10 vs. Butler W, 57-54 at Purdue W, 59-57 vs. Kansas W, 71-51 vs. Illinois W, 53-51 vs. California L, 61-45 28-8 (.778) overall
Three Tigers earned a spot on the All-SEC Teams this season. 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 SEC Community Service Team.
Bri Kulas is averaging a team-best 13.8 ppg in SEC play and 2.9 of those 13.8 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 74.2-percent since SEC play started.
Morgan Eye's 172 career treys put her at No. 2 all-time on Missouri's career three-pointers made list. That trails Alyssa Hollins (226) who played from 2005-2009. Eye's 172 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.
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 53.3-percent from the floor while averaging 7.5 ppg. Her rebounding numbers are way up as well as she is grabbing 5.2 boards per game, up from just 3.6 a season ago.
Lianna Doty has accumulated 56 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 146 so far this season.
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