Smooth Sailing: Tigers women’s basketball cruises to easy 84-45 win against New Orleans

The Tigers put together a true team effort in its win against the Privateers

Missouri freshman guard Mama Dembele received the ball at halfcourt, took two dribbles inside and fired a one-armed laser to LaDazhia Williams at the free throw line. The forward took one more dribble and dumped the ball down to guard Aijha Blackwell for an easy lay-in.

In five dribbles, the Tigers broke a full-court press in a possession that finished with a simple basket. Those two points exemplified what Missouri did all night in its non-conference game against New Orleans.

Just two days removed from a double-digit defeat against Missouri State, the Tigers made the necessary extra passes and scored at will in a complete 84-45 win against the Privateers at Mizzou Arena Wednesday night.

“We’re not taking anything for granted,” Blackwell said. “The two-week quarantine bummed us out, so we’re looking forward to these games as a blessing just to be on the floor and not taking anything for granted.”

The Tigers put forth a true team effort, with four players scoring in double figures. Williams and Blackwell delivered a strong one-two scoring punch –– the pair combined for 30 points –– while Dembele orchestrated the offense with a team-high six assists.

Missouri pushed the ball in transition every chance they got. Led by Dembele, the Tigers took off after each of the visitor’s missed shots with Williams running rim-to-rim and the wings spacing the floor.

“Her speed is really fun to play with,” Williams said. “We really emphasize transition and we want to push the floor. I think her speed is great for that and she has good control of the ball, so it is pretty fun playing with her.”

Missouri turned the paint into its own Bourbon Street. With the entire team running the floor at every opportunity, they put up 60 points in the paint and 16 points in transition.

The Tigers’ bench finished with 40 points as all 12 players saw the court before halftime. Sophomore Lauren Hansen led the second unit with 12 points on 5-7 shooting.

“Right now so early in the year, the more opportunities players have to get out on the court, the better,” Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. “We have eight kids who can probably be in that starting lineup, but you can only start five. To get kids minutes and have them be able to play with different people is so important, so it was nice to mix it up a little bit.”

Missouri sophomore Hayley Frank didn’t need to do a lot against the Privateers. Her first basket came with 2:52 remaining in the opening half and she finished with six points on just four shots.

Following the Missouri State game, the Tigers took a “classroom day” to watch film. There they went over things such as making the extra pass setting better screens to get teammates open. Some of that shone through on the court

But it still wasn’t a perfect game by any means.

After jumping out to an early 17-2 lead, Missouri allowed the Privateers to hang around deep into the first half. The fast tempo contributed to 21 turnovers and the Tigers shot just 43.8% at the foul line as a team. All those things need to be cleaned up as they prepare for a difficult SEC schedule.

“At times I thought we played the scoreboard,” Pingeton said. “We can’t do that. Great teams play to a standard… It’s the start of an early season. You expect that you have to work on these things.”

After a humbling defeat to in-state rivals Missouri State, the Tigers bounced back against the Privateers and Pingeton got to learn a little more about her second unit in the process.

“We got a lot of talent on this team,” Blackwell said. “I think that’s what’s really special about this team. When somebody goes out and someone else comes in, it’s the same thing. We’re all a team and we know what we have within our core.”

Missouri now has two days to recover before a busy weekend where it hosts Oral Roberts at 12:30 p.m. Central on Saturday followed by a matchup against Southern Illinois at 12:30 p.m. Central on Sunday.

Edited by Jack Soble |

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