Missouri women’s basketball falls to Alabama in its final game of 2020

The Tigers shot a mere 38% in a conference-opening loss to the Crimson Tide.

Missouri women’s basketball will enter the new year with two losses on the season.

The Tigers dropped Thursday’s game 74-59 to the undefeated Crimson Tide.

Missouri played its last game 10 days ago, where the Tigers picked up a third-consecutive win.

The 10 day Christmas break came at a busy time for Missouri. The Tigers had just played four games in seven days, going 3-1 in that stretch.

However, the busy schedule was due in part to Missouri’s unique season thus far. The Tigers played just one game in November against North Alabama before venturing into a 17-day quarantine period.

Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said that the inconsistent schedule has been difficult, but she felt it was necessary for the team to get home and spend time with their families over the break.

“I knew as long as we were able, we wanted to send our kids home,” Pingeton said. “I think that time is really important.”

Still, the time-off became apparent in the second half. Both teams — who finished in the bottom half of the SEC in the 2019 season — played an evenly matched first half. However, as the game went on, Missouri players appeared winded and took far too many one-pass, 3-point attempts that did not fall. The Tigers finished the afternoon 3-15 from behind the arc.

“The last couple days kind of surprised me of where we are at from a conditioning standpoint, but you have to embrace practice,” Pingeton said Thursday. “There’s nothing sexy about it, but it’s essential. And I’m a true believer that you play how you practice and so somehow, someway, we’ve got to step up and embrace that.”

Missouri struggled offensively for the entirety of the game. Alabama held sophomore standout Hayley Frank scoreless for the entirety of the first half, and Crimson Tide forward Jasmine Walker didn’t allow Frank to take any good looks for the majority of the game.

A mere 38% shooting percentage was not how Missouri anticipated opening conference play, especially following a three-game winning streak, where the Tigers won all three games by an average of 38 points per game.

In the press conference following the game, sophomore Aijha Blackwell appeared visibly upset.

“This loss is pretty disappointing, just knowing the hard work we put in and practice and stuff like that,” Blackwell said. “We just have to go back to the drawing board and really work on what we have to do next to prepare for the next game.”

The loss felt more disappointing to most because of how much improvement this Missouri team has had in comparison to last year.

“We’re so much further ahead than we were last year and this time,” Pingeton said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in these girls.”

With a lot to improve on, Missouri will be forced to get a head start on its New Year’s resolutions, as they travel to Arkansas to face the No. 10 Razorbacks on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. CT.

Edited by Kyle Pinnell | kpinnell@themaneater.com

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