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Tigers can’t complete season sweep in close home loss to Tennessee

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Missouri can’t cap off memorable week, fall in close contest to Volunteers

One second... maybe only a half. That was all that separated the Missouri Tigers from the most memorable week in program history.

It is a tough pill to swallow for the Tigers. One week ago, they were celebrating Robin Pingeton’s 500th career win. A few days later, they toppled a perennial national power on their own court. Completing the season sweep of Tennessee would’ve been the icing on the cake.

However, the Tigers couldn’t overcome a tough outing for Cunningham — 13 points on 15 shots — and a massive deficit on the boards.

Tennessee finished with 17 offensive boards and 22 second-chance points, compared to Missouri’s eight offensive boards and nine second-chance points. The Lady Vols outrebounded the Tigers 41-30, the second time this year they’ve dominated Missouri on the glass.

I’ve often been critical of the Missouri women in these links recaps. They have one of the most talented rosters in program history, and yet have failed to develop a consistent rhythm in Sophie Cunningham’s final season as a Tiger. A fourth straight NCAA Tournament is assured, but a lower seed could be fatal to the team’s hopes of making it past the first weekend.

As ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme — and Alex Schiffer — point out, Sunday’s loss may not be detrimental, but it certainly won’t help them climb the ladder.

The Tigers were a No. 7 seed in Creme’s mock bracket last Monday but will likely move up a seed after their upset win over the Bulldogs. While hosting may be a long shot, Missouri can still get up to a No. 5 seed if the Tigers win out in the regular season.

Winning out won’t be impossible — hell, nothing seems that way after this week’s win at Mississippi State. For that, the Tigers deserve loads of credit.

But getting a high seed in March will require the Tigers to win two straight on the road, where they’re only 2-4 in conference play. They’ll also have to avoid a let down in the regular season finale against Alabama. A deep run in the SEC Tournament wouldn’t hurt either

But that’s easier said than done. If the regular season is any hint, the Tigers better be ready for battle over the next few weeks.

P.S. I’m not going to talk at all about the “dust up.” Frankly, the criticisms of Missouri’s sportsmanship are boring and rote, often amounting to nothing more than, “the girl with the blonde hair screamed and made me upset.”

I will, however, point out an amusing — and important — moment provided by Cierra Porter following the game.

Akira Levy is damn fun to watch, but she has to learn to control her emotions sometimes. Leadership like Porter’s will go a long way.

Also, probably all the sprints she’s going to have to run.

“Hope you dusted off your running shoes, Akira!”

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • In a special at PowerMizzou, Brian Neuner wrote about Derrick Chievous, who will have his jersey retired this week.
  • Tough opening weekend for Missouri baseball, as the Tigers drop the series to North Florida, two games to one.

We haven’t done any coverage on the 2019 season yet, but I’ll be back later this week with a few things (and players) to watch out for over the course of the year.

  • Maybe in an effort to ease everyone’s frustrations, the softball team laid an unholy smackdown on that school the West.
  • Finally, major ups to all the Mizzou fans that went out and supported their teams this weekend.