For the 15th time, Missouri and Illinois will face off in the women’s Bragging Rights game. After a heartbreaking 51-58 loss two seasons ago in Columbia, the Tigers travel to Champaign to get back into the rivalry’s win column. The game is scheduled for 12 pm central on Big 10 Network +.
The Illini currently lead the series 9-5, but since the rivalry came back in the 2017-2018 season, Mizzou leads 2-1. Last season, they were scheduled to play in Champaign, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19, so the game is back after a one year hiatus. Missouri (10-2) is looking to end non-conference play on a hot streak while Illinois (5-6) is looking to get back into the win column before heading into conference play.
Illinois is struggling mightily this season, but as basketball fans know, you can never waver from any matchup. Here are the keys to getting the rivalry dub.
1. Shut down perimeter shooting.
Illinois only has three players that are consistent three point shooters. Leading scorer Aaliyah Nye is averaging 11.7 points per game on 39.4% shooting from the perimeter. Over half of her 46 makes have been from three, so she is a primary sharpshooter.
Jada Peebles is averaging 9.4 points per game on 41.2% shooting from three, good for first on the team with a minimum of 30 attempts. Lastly, De’Myla Brown is averaging 8.4 points per game on 35% shooting. Her 14 makes from three are exactly half of her total field goals made.
Shutting down those three from the perimeter and forcing them to drive will be crucial to stopping any shooting runs that the Illini could go on.
2. Limit Illinois’ rebounds.
Sure, the Illini aren’t the best rebounding team. They only have one player averaging double-digits, with the next highest being 3.9. Regardless, Kendall Bostic will fight for every single rebound. The 6’2 forward is averaging 11.3 rebounds per game, carrying the weight for Illinois. Mizzou counters with Aijha Blackwell and Hayley Frank, great rebounders in their own right, and these two will be there to clean up the glass. Blackwell has eight double-doubles on the season already, so naturally she will help in limiting Bostic’s ability to crash the boards.
3. Even if the shots aren’t falling, shoot them anyway.
As of late, Mizzou’s three point shooting hasn’t been as spectacular as it’s been majority of the season. It’s not that they’re getting bad looks, though. They’ve had great opportunities to sink some threes; they just haven’t gone in. Knowing Mizzou and how determined and ferocious they are, they’ve found other ways to impact the game by going inside and settling for midrange jump shots.
Even if the perimeter shooting is ice cold, the Tigers need to take every open opportunity to shoot their shot. There’s a 50/50 chance it goes in. If no one is open and the shooter is, they can’t pass up wide open and good looks from beyond-the-arc.
Shooters shoot and that’s what Mizzou does best.
The usual starting lineup of Dembele, Hansen, Troup, Blackwell and Frank.
Illinois gets on the board first with a three.
Frank blocks Bostic.
Mizzou gets on the board with a Troup free throw.
Illinois leads 8-1 off a Illinois three.
Sara Anastasieska drains a corner three and Mizzou calls time out. 11-1 Illini.
Higginbottom misses a corner three, follows her shots and lays it in for Mizzou’s first field goal. Illinois leads 13-3.
Hansen hits a three and it’s now a seven point game.
Frank draws a blocking foul off the cut and gets free throws. She drains them both. 16-10 Illinois.
Hansen drains a deep three and it’s a three point game.
With 3.4 seconds left in the first, Hansen drives and gets an and-one. She ties it up on the and-one and it’s 16 all at the end of the first. Mizzou ended the first quarter on a 15-3 run.
Illinois records their first turnover of the game after an Illinois push on Dembele.
Blackwell cuts from the top of the key and converts a layup. Mizzou has its first lead, 18-16.
Blackwell drains a three from the top of the key and it’s 21-16 Tigers.
Illinois turns it over on a steal by Dembele and she goes coast-to-coast for a layup. It is 23-16 Tigers on a 7-0 run. Illinois calls a timeout.
Troup drives baseline and gets the layup. 25-18 Tigers.
Frank misses the turnaround layup but gets the offensive board and converts the layup.
Rubin gets the offense rebound but Dembele pokes it free and gets the steal.
Blackwell blocks Rubin’s shot and Frank gets the rebound. She is double teamed and fouled.
The clock stopped for three seconds causing the horn to blow at 3:52 and 16 on the shot clock. Troup had the ball and looked super confused. 3:49 and 13 were put on the game and shot clock.
A few missed Tiger shots but two offense rebounds. Smith gets the second one and dishes it to a wide open Blackwell on the left wing for a three. Mizzou leads 34-22.
That shot clock was definitely at 16. The horn went off and Troup definitely was confused. Game clock frozen at 3:52. Refs looking at the monitor and they took off 3 seconds on the game and shot clock. 13 on shot lock, 3:49 on game clock. pic.twitter.com/8bLA4ZJ3dE— Lauren Rosenberg ️ ✡️ (@lrosenberg101) December 22, 2021
Frank drains a wide open three and Mizzou leads 37-22 and are on a 10-0 run.
Troup hustles for the offense rebound and ends up on the floor. The ball rolls out and Illinois gets the ball. The shot clock reset even though there wasn’t a change of posession.
Troup drains a long three and holds her follow through with authority.
At halftime, Mizzou leads 40-26.
Tigers get on the board first to begin the third. Hansen to Blackwell for a lob on the high low. Mizzou leads 42-26.
Frank misses a layup but Blackwell sprints for the offensive board and puts it back in. She is one rebound away from another double-double. Mizzou leads 44-28.
Great high low action from Dembele to Frank for a layup and an and-one opportunity. She converts the free throw and now has 10 points. 48-31 Tigers.
Troup drives off a screen from Williams. Mizzou leads 50-36.
Blackwell gets her 10th rebound of the game and outlet passes to Williams for a wide open transition layup. Blackwell now has her ninth double-double of the season. Time out taken by Illinois. Mizzou leads 52-36.
Out of the time out, Illinois turns it over to the hands of Dembele. Blackwell draws a foul at the other end. Mizzou is now in the bonus. Blackwell hits both free throws. Mizzou leads 54-36.
Another funny to entertain y’all who can’t watch. Mizzou gets called for a foul at 4:52. Both teams were standing waiting for the Illini inbound but the refs weren’t doing anything. They were trying to figure out if it was a media timeout. Under 5 minutes left is a media timeout but the refs couldn’t determine if it actually was. Hope y’all enjoyed that little oops story.
Williams works over the double team and posts up for a layup. Mizzou leads 56-40.
Illinois goes for the two-for-one and the first part works with Nye draining a three.
Mizzou answers on the other end with a three of their own by Hansen. Illinois fails to get the second half of the two-for-one opportunity.
The Tigers lead the Illini 60-46 at the end of the third.
High low post-to-post action from Frank to Williams for the layup. Mizzou gets on the board first and leads 62-46.
Williams gets called for an offensive foul and the Mizzou bench is not happy.
Troup misses a three, Frank gets the offensive board, dishes it out to Hansen for a three that looked like it was going in but rolled out and then Williams gets the offensive rebound and finishes. Mizzou leads 66-48.
Troup drives and dishes out to Frank who opts against the three to drive and trigger a midrange jumper which she makes. Mizzou leads 68-50.
Williams muscles her way in the post to get a layup. Mizzou leads 70-50.
Mizzou drives in a wide open lane for a lefty layup. Time out on the floor. Mizzou leads 74-54.
Higginbottom dribble drives and protects the ball to pull up for a a free throw elbow jumper. Mizzou leads 76-54.
Just like that, Higginbottom gets a wide-open look for an easy layup. Illinois calls a timeout with Mizzou leading 78-56.
Pingeton clears her bench with Higginbottom, Dorroh, both Linthacums and Kelly into the game.
Sarah Linthacum gathers the loose ball off of Kelly and drives in for a layup. Mizzou leads 80-61. Also, Illinois still has starters in the game.
Higginbottom misses a layup but Micah Linthacum is there for the offensive rebound and putback. Mizzou leads 82-63.
Higginbottom completely seals the deal with a driving right layup.
Mizzou defeats Illinois 84-65 and takes the Bragging Rights game.
Five Tigers end with double digits. Blackwell notches a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds, Troup recorded 10, Hansen with 14, Frank with 14 points and 6 rebounds and Williams with 13 points and 5 rebounds off the bench.
Mizzou has a short break and then takes on no. 1 South Carolina at Mizzou Arena on Dec. 30th at 6 pm on SEC Network.