R.J. Layton sat down with Lianna Doty to talk Tiger defense.
Dec. 30, 2013
By: R.J. Layton, Media Relations Student Assistant
The Mizzou Women's Basketball team is off to a sizzling 11-2 start for the second straight season. The Tigers wrapped up their non-conference schedule with an undefeated 8-0 record at Mizzou Arena.
Mizzou's early success is a direct result of its relentless attacking defense. The team has caused 215 turnovers this season, forcing 16.5 per game. As a result, the Tigers have held opponents to just 60.4 points per game on average, allowing them to possess a +15.5 margin in the scoring column.
The defensive proficiency is largely due to Mizzou's ability to switch up defenses and frequently pester opposing teams with a full court press. Sophomore point guard Lianna Doty said the Tigers' pressure defense is effective because of their deep and athletic roster.
"We're really deep, our conditioning level is a big advantage for us," Doty said. "By the time we get to the second half, teams are worn out and that's where you see us pull away. We have tremendous athleticism; we're not a really big team, so we utilize our speed."
Consequently, Mizzou has grabbed 107 total steals on the season, 29 of them coming at the hands of Doty. Yet, the defensive captain says it's not just about getting steals, but rather disrupting the other team's offensive flow and turning opponents' turnovers into transition points for the Tigers.
"We want to make (opponents) eat up the shot clock and slow them down to make them work before they can get into their offense," Doty said. "We want our defense to dictate our offense. When you can get those easy buckets, the basket seems a lot bigger and then all of a sudden everything feels easier."
After romping Western Illinois on Dec. 22, the Tigers next contest is at Ole Miss on Jan. 2. With SEC play quickly approaching, Missouri wants to continue its success on the defensive end and turn it up on notch against stiffer competition.
"Beyond a shadow of a doubt, our defense is what we want to continue to improve on in terms of getting into gaps, containing the dribble and all those types of things," Doty said. "As far as this season, we've seen a ton of improvement already in our defense and we look to keep strengthening that."
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