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Reviewin' & Previewin' - Women's Basketball and Women's Tennis

After back to back weeks of nationally recognized programs being featured in the Musings, we are bringing it back a bit and covering a couple of the programs which have not been as successful of late.  We are already almost running out of sports, as women's basketball will be our last true winter sport before moving to the winter/spring programs.  So let's close out the winter sports with the Lady Tigers of the court before moving over to the Green Tennis Center to talk about the Tiger Tennis program.  Let the reviewin' and previewin' commence!

Women's Basketball - The 2008-2009 Season

Final Record: 13-17
Conference Record: 4-12
Final Conference Standing: 11th
Home Record: 9-7 (3-5 in conference)
Road Record: 4-8 (1-7)
Neutral Record: 0-2

Scoring Offense: 60.6 (12th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.8 (6th)
Scoring Margin: +0.8 (10th)
Field Goal % -  38.5% (12th)
3-Point Shooting % -  28.3% (12th)
Free Throw Shooting % - 62.5% (12th)

Rebounds/Game: 37.5 (6th in conference)
Offensive Rebounds/Game: 14.7 (stat not kept at conference level)
Rebounding Margin: -0.2 (9th)

Assists/Game: 12.3 (8th in conference)
Turnovers/Game: 15.5 (6th)
A/TO Ratio: 0.79 (7th)
Steals/Game: 9.53 (2nd)
Blocks/Game: 3.93 (5th)

Seniors Lost: 1 (of 13)
Starters Lost: 1 (Alyssa Hollins - guard)
% of Starts Lost: 20%
% of Scoring Lost: 21.6%
% of 3-Point Shots Made Lost: 44.4%
% of Rebounding Lost: 9.1%
% of Assists Lost: 14.1 %

2009 Roster Breakdown by Year: 4 seniors, 3 juniors, 5 sophomores, 2 freshmen

Looks about how you remember the season going last year?  Let's see if we can't find a silver lining somewhere.

Needless to say, the 2008-2009 campaign did not start off well for the ladies.  They played a decent OOC schedule, featuring matchups against three Big 10 programs, as well a school from the SEC.  However, stumbling out of the gate, the Tigers went only 1-4, capitalized by a crushing loss in three overtimes to Holy Cross in the first game of a two-games-in-two-nights tournament.  However, the Tigers bounced back the next night with a win over Northwestern, and would proceed to go on their longest (and, if you can believe this, ONLY) winning streak of the season.  When the dust cleared, the Tigers stood at 9-4, owners of eight straight wins and headed towards the conference slate.

If only the season could have ended there.  Though the Tigers really only were blown out of one game in conference (a 29 point loss at Baylor), they just could.  not.  score.  It really says something when you graduate your best scorer (Alyssa Hollins) and she was your worst a good amount.  Looking at the defense, the Tigers were decent, collecting a solid number of blocks and impressive number of steals, while valuing the basketball pretty well to keep themselves in most games.  But in the end, horrible shooting from pretty much everywhere doomed the team to a 4-12 finish and the second straight under .500 campaign (though a three game improvement on the 10-21 massacre from the '07-'08 season)

Mizzou does not have much leaving.  Alyssa Hollins leaves as a three-year starter and the program's record holder in three-point shots made.  However, her shooting percentages declined each year she was a starter, with a very significant drop last season:

  • 2006-2007: .399 FG/.386 3pt/.822 FT
  • 2007-2008: .346 FG/.383 3pt/.750 FT
  • 2008-2009: .327 FG/.299 3pt/.796 FT
  • 214 3-pointers over three seasons is one thing, but it was clear that Hollins needed to be a #2 or #3 scoring threat (like she was to Riddle and Brooks in 2006-2007) and not the #1 she was counted to be the past two seasons.  Before we look ahead to what should hopefully be a better team in 2009-2010, let's spend one last time gut-punching ourselves on how amazingly bad the shooting on this team was.

  • No one on the team who took more than TWENTY three pointers hit theirs at a clip of 30%.  THIRTY!!
  • Only one person made more than half of their shots from the field (who took more than 5) and that was JUST barely (130 of 258 for .504 for Shakara Jones)
  • After that, only two people shot better than 40% from the floor.  (Flores at .453 and Johnson at .409)
  • 62.5 percent from the FT line for the team.  When your scoring margin is only 0.8 points per game, lord only knows how many were lost at the line by this team
  • Looking Ahead - The 2009-2010 Season

    So will it be a case of addition by subtraction for the Tigers this year?  They will return four other starters, including Jones (junior-to-be) and Jessra Johnson (future senior) in the front court, with RaeShara Brown (future junior) and Bekah Mills (RS Soph) at the guard spots.  Coach Stein employed a pretty deep bench last season, as eight ladies saw at least 10 minutes per game, with another four seeing between six and seven minutes per game as well.  Johnson was only .1 points per game behind Hollins in scoring, though averaging about nine FEWER minutes per game on the floor.  Jones has averaged right at 10 points per game for both of her seasons so far, but her rebounding fell off a bit last season (Johnson led the squad at 6.9 per game).  Brown did a little of everything, leading the team in assists and was second in boards with over six per game while averaging six points per game as well.  It is somewhat concerning that Mills shot worse from three point range than did Hollins (.299 to .288 for Mills). 

    I suppose there are a number people who are in line to replace Hollins.  Returning seniors Toy Richbow and Marissa Scott combined to average over 36 minutes per game.  Other (younger) candidates would also be either future junior Jasmine Otote or future sophomore Bailey Gee, who came into the program to much acclaim, but did little last season.  Stein will also welcome two new Tigers to the fold in Trenee Thornton and Sydney Crafton.   There is also some good height returning to the front line to hopefully bolster the rebounds with Christina Flores (6'3 soph) and Kendra Frazier (6'5 soph).  The other senior in front will be undersized forward Amanda Hanneman.

    Can this team shoot worse than last season?  I suppose it is technically possible, but just not that likely.  What the team really needs is continued scoring and floor play from Johnson with an uptick in both scoring and rebounding from Jones.  With that, the Tigers would have a pretty solid front court.  From the back, they just need someone...ANYONE who can hit 35 percent or more of their threes and 45 percent of their FG's.  Given the rotation the team has employed, there is pleny of experience returning, and I think that will only help the already decent defensive effort the team gives.  Adding some scoring could potentially get them back a lot closer to the .500 in what will still likely be the final season for Cindy Stein.

    Women's Tennis - The 2009 Season

    Final Record: 9-12
    Conference Record: 4-7
    Final Conference Standing: Tied for 7th
    Home Record: 4-7 (2-5 in conference)
    Road Record: 5-5 (2-2)
    Seniors Lost: 2 (of 9 total on the squad)

    It may not seem like it, but this was a pretty solid year for the Mizzou Women's Tennis squad.  First off, credit and props to for putting out a season review piece already (something they should try to do for each program).  It can be found here and certainly covers much of what I will be touching upon in the coming paragraphs.  Another reminder is that tennis (like golf next week) is one of those kind of goofy sports broken up over multiple seasons.  The fall is reserved for tournament play, while the spring is the regular season, and features dual tournaments.  On the scoring, there are three doubles matches contended, played in a "pro-set" format of one set to 8.  The team winnning two of the three doubles matches wins the doubles "point".  Then, six singles matches are contested in the more traditional six point sets with best of three.  The team collecting the most wins takes the dual.  In cases of Big XII tournament play, the dual is ended once one team has collected four wins.

    Alright, with that out of the way, let's take a look back at the 2009 Tigers.  The team was fairly young coming into the season, having three sophomores who really burst onto the scene as freshmen the year before.  Added to that would be two freshmen, including a 5-star recruit out of Florida in Jamie Mera.  The Tigers did very well in the fall in tournament play, racking up wins in both doubles and singles.  As the calendar turned to 2009 and the real season got underway, coach Blake Starkey put together a pretty solid schedule, replete with ranked teams and tough regional matchups with Big 10 programs.  The ladies won enough matches to appear in the top 75 rankings for a number of weeks, ascending as high as #58 in the nation.  All in all, a pretty solid season.

    Departing will be two seniors, each from a foreign country and originally from a foreign college, but both of whom left a solid mark on the program.  Jessica Giugiolli (whose name I will NOT miss spelling out) played much of the past two seasons at the top of the singles ladder for the Tigers.  This year, she amassed a 18-15 record in #2 doubles and a 16-20 record in almost entirely #1 singles.  Originally from Italy and Kentucky, Giugiolli was a big-time force in helping a REALLY young Tiger team the season before.  She will be joined in her departure by Ecuadorian-born Sofia Ayala.  Ayala, who began her college career at Alabama truly saved her best effort for last.  She ended up winning the most matches of any Tiger this past season, combining with three different partners in doubles to go an amazing 24-8, while also going 24-9 in singles play throughout the seasons.

    Looking Ahead - The 2010 Season

    Any look ahead for the Tigers has to start with soon-to-be sophmore Jamie Mera.  Mera came in as the most accalimed freshmen in program history and immediately ascended to playing most of the #1 doubles with future junior Mallory Webber.  The two teamed up to go 15-18 on the year.  On her own, Mera went 23-13 in singles, moving from #3 singles to #2 as the year progressed, even getting a little time and play at #1.  I believe she is the favorite to take over for Giugiolli.  Webber is fairly likely to fall in behind her at #2, as her singles record of 18-17 was earned mostly against #3's and #2's.  Future junior Kaitlyn Richie will also be a big part of the squad next season, as she was over .500 in singles (21-16, mainly at #4) and she will looking for a new doubles partner as she and Giugiolli went 18-15 mainly at #2.  The Tigers will need continued growth and improvement from their other freshmen this past season in Danielle Day, who did go a very solid 14-10 against most of the #5's, while partnering with Ayala to go 15-5 in doubles against the #3's.  Future junior Maureen Modesto played well when she saw action, finishing 10-8 in singles and went 7-3 with Ayala, likely paving the way for her to paired in the future with either Day or Richie.  Future senior Kaitlin Dunham did not see action this past season (aside from two doubles win in the fall with Ayala), but was 11-13 in singles, playing as high as #2 at times in 2008.  The other senior on the squad will be NC State transfer Kristen  Bleakely, who appears to be more suited for doubles action than singles.

    Another big piece of the puzzle for the Tigers in 2010 might be Andrea Lewis, who becomes the second five-star recruit brought to Mizzou in the past two season.  Hailing from Tulsa, OK, Lewis was #1 in Oklahoma (a perch The Boy was never able to achieve in his time there), #5 regionally and #60 nationally.  She is also an amazing cross-country athlete, having NEVER LOST a race in the two years she has participated as a way for training for tennis.  If she can enter with a similar impact to that of Mera, the squad should be able to shift and cover the senior losses they are going to experience.

    What is a good goal for next season?  Assuming the Tigers play a similarly tough schedule, I would love to see this squad finish .500 overall and getting closer in Big XII play.  As has been a theme throughout most of these pieces, this team is potentially STACKED for a ground-breaking season in 2011 when they will have their top 6 players returning plus whatever addition they can make through recruiting.  And considering their past couple of seasons, you have to really like the direction this program is moving.

    Random Thoughts:

    • The British Open will always have a special place in my heart, if for no other reason than the fact it can go to a playoff, and still be done around 1:00 p.m. local time.  The best was the summer I spent in CA.  Yeah I had to get up a little early, but it was over by about 10:00 a.m. out there that year...had the whole day.
    • Some great facts from the whole Watson thing over the weekend included Jack Nicklaus sending his first ever text message to Watson after the third round and (care of John Anderson) that Watson's plaque in the Golf Hall of Fame is old enough to drink.
    • I did have to half chuckle/half smack my forehead in reading some of the what I would characterize as over the top hyperbole surrounding Watson.  My favorite was hearing someone believed it would mean more to KC than did the '85 World Series
    • Still on golf, though switching to Mizzou golf, congrats to Chelsea Schreiwer for repeating as the Missouri Amateur champion
    • Some wrestling recruiting news, as the Tigers have gone about locking up two of the top talents from the state, both of whom are Top 50 recruits in the country.  More on them can be read here