Well, Tiger fans, the moment you’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. Mizzou women’s basketball is back and they put on quite a show Thursday night.
There were debuts, career nights, flashy passes, obnoxious fouls and a fourth quarter climax that made me want to pop some popcorn.
If you wanted a game that would be a blow out win for the Tigers, you tuned into the absolute wrong one.
If you dreamt of a solid mid-major team that came down to the absolute last second, then your wish came true.
Here are some takeaways from tonight’s narrow 76-70 win over the Murray State Racers.
- The double-double queen is back in action.
- Aijha Blackwell picked up where she left off last season with a team high 19 points and 15 rebounds. She shot super efficiently, 64% from the field, and asserted herself down low. She was able to overpower opponents with her athleticism and strength.
2. Mama Dembele had the game of her life.
- Dembele understood the assignment tonight. She knew she needed to go out of her comfort zone and take the opportunity to shoot the three when her opponents left her all the space in the world.
She also showed why her defense is one of the best in the SEC. She picked the Racers’ pockets four times and had a clutch block at the end of the game to seal the win for Mizzou. She recorded a career high 13 points along with three rebounds, two assists and four steals.
3. Welcome to the Zou, Izzy!
- Higginbottom was automatic from three. In fact, all nine of her points were from beyond-the-arc. She played a bench and freshman-leading 20 minutes. Izzy showed exactly why Tiger fans should be excited about what she can bring to the table. My imaginary freshman of the night award goes to Izzy.
4. The Vet showed that she is more than just a three point shooter.
- Last season, Haley Troup knew her role was going to expand. She was no longer going to be just a three point sharpshooter. She embraced that role last season and it translated to tonight.
Troup didn’t have to make any threes tonight to achieve her 10 points. She had tough drives to the lane and a contested fadeaway jumper. She showed her passing skills with an absolutely sick behind-the-back pass to Blackwell that had me going, “upside down. bouncing off the ceiling.”
Overall, this game showed a ton of promise for this young, developing squad.
When the Racers took the lead in the fourth, Hayley Frank hits a three, free throws were converted and defense was turned to offense.
Missouri was able to comeback and close out this game, already improving on what this team struggled mightily with last season.
Next up: Missouri welcomes Morgan State to Mizzou Arena on Nov. 14 at 2 pm.