Missouri women’s basketball ends non-conference schedule on a high note, takes down Southern Illinois 79-43

The Tigers capped off a busy week with a win against Southern Illinois.

Missouri women’s basketball started its non-conference schedule with one game in just over two weeks. It ended it with four games in six days.

The Tigers came out of that grueling stretch 3-1, capped off by a wire-to-wire 79-43 victory over Southern Illinois at Mizzou Arena.

Sunday afternoon's game didn't exist until last Tuesday, and after some slight schedule rearrangement, Missouri found its weekend booked with two games in just 24 hours.

“They all felt like it was pretty important to get another game under our belt,” Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said earlier in the week. “They know that it’s going to take some time to gel, make adjustments and get used to each other’s style of play…. They want to play games and I can’t blame them.”

Missouri players received scout information on the Salukis shortly after its 88-49 win against Oral Roberts Saturday afternoon and finished watching the tape by 10 p.m. that night. The coaching staff tested players on their preparation in the morning and were impressed with what they saw.

“Little things matter,” Pingeton said. “That attention to detail is so important. That prep time is essential. If you want to be really good, you got to be willing to spend that time on that prep.”

Southern Illinois coach, Cindy Stein, has a history at Missouri. She coached the Tigers from 1998 to 2010, but she couldn’t pick up her 186th win in Columbia.

The Salukis hung around with the Tigers throughout the first half but went ice cold as the home team heated up. Southern Illinois finished the game shooting 27% and scored just 21 total points in the second half.

Missouri pulled away behind its stellar three-point shooting. Pingeton’s team went 9-for-13 from beyond the arc, led by sophomore Lauren Hansen, who hit three-out-of-four of her triples including a step-back three at the first-half buzzer.

“That’s my game,” Hansen said. “I work really hard to be able to do that. So being able to play like that is easy, it works and it was a lot of fun today.”

Once again, the Tigers put together a complete performance. Four players scored in double-digits while the bench contributed 43 points, led by Shug Dickson. The redshirt senior followed up her 11-point outing against Oral Roberts with a game-high 17 points on 7-8 shooting.

“We got a lot of options,” Dickson said. “I know last year we had Aijha [Blackwell] and Hayley [Frank], those were our two big players, but now we have a lot more scorers. We can space the ball out a lot and they can take some weight off their shoulders.”

Missouri certainly looked to be having fun in its final game before the holidays. At one point during a 16-0 run, Blackwell threw a perfectly-placed full-court-pass to redshirt junior Haley Troup and unleashed a little dance.

So, what did Pingeton learn after a non-conference season unlike any other in her head coaching career?

“It’s a team that has a lot of depth, probably more depth than we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Pingeton said. “We’ve got a lot of offensive firepower and are pretty good when we can play downhill and create the tempo.”

Her team will get to see how that translates to league play starting in 11 days when they host Alabama at 2:00 p.m. Central on New Year’s Eve.

“It’s good to see smiles on their faces,” Pingeton said. “You just never know with COVID and everything that’s happened. I think they're starting to see the fruits of their labor by staying the course.”

Edited by Eli Hoff | ehoff@themaneater.com

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